Obama admits that drone strike killed Americans


Militant leader Tareq al-Dahab -- a brother-in-law of US-born jihadist cleric Anwar al-Awlaqi who was killed in a US drone strike last September, sits in the Amiriyah mosque in the town of Rada, 130 kilometres (85 miles) southeast of the capital Sanaa, on January 18, 2012.



The Obama administration has finally admitted that the United States killed American citizens in drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan. In a letter to Congressional leaders, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. disclosed that the administration had killed four Americans. One of the victims, Anwar al-Awlaki, was deliberately targeted, the letter says.

The letter was obtained by the New York Times. The Times explained that while it's long been reported that American drones were behind Awlaki’s death, that the administration had not yet publicly confirmed or denied the government's role in the attack.

As GlobalPost reported at the time of his death, Awlaki was one of America's most wanted Al Qaeda operatives. His death was hailed by the Yemeni government. 

More from GlobalPost: Al Qaeda operative killed in drone strike (UPDATED)

The three other Americans named are Samir Khan, who was killed in the same strike, Awlaki’s son Abdulrahman al-Awlaki and Jude Mohammed. 

A 2012 report by North Carolina station WRAL.com has some information about the latter victim, Jude Mohammed. According to the report, Mohammed was from Triangle, North Carolina. He then traveled to Pakistan in 2008. Court records accuse him of taking part in a violent Jihad.

A friend told the station at the time that he heard Mohammed had been killed in a drone strike.