Report: Al-Qaida's Yemen chiefs still menace US

By KIMBERLY DOZIER | October 3, 2011 | 4:05 AM EDT

Redaktionshinweis: PHOTO MUST BE USED IN ITS INTIRETY. NO SALES AP PROVIDES ACCESS TO THIS PUBLICLY DISTRIBUTED HANDOUT PHOTO TO BE USED ONLY TO ILLUSTRATE NEWS REPORTING OR COMMENTARY ON THE FACTS OR EVENTS DEPICTED IN THIS IMAGE. AP provides access to this publicly distributed HANDOUT photo to be used only to illustrate news reporting or commentary on the facts or events depicted in this image. +++ ARCHIV: In this image taken from video and released by SITE Intelligence Group on Monday, Nov. 8, 2010, Anwar al-Awlaki speaks in a video message posted on radical websites. Die Liste der Terroranschlaege, mit denen Anwar al-Awlaki in Verbindung gebracht wird, ist lang: Zwei Attentaeter der Anschlaege des 11. September 2001 sollen seinen Predigten gelauscht haben. Dem als "Unterhosenbomber" bekannt gewordenen Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab soll er die religioese Legitimation fuer seinen letztlich gescheiterten Anschlag auf ein Passagierflugzeug geliefert haben. Mit dem Amokschuetzen Nidal Malik Hasan, der wegen der Ermordung von 13 Menschen auf dem US-Militaerstuetzpunkt Fort Hood angeklagt ist, hatte Awlaki vor dessen Tat regen E-Mail-Verkehr. Zahlreiche weitere Attentaeter wurden von ihm inspiriert. Nun ist Anwar al-Awlaki tot. Wie das jemenitische Verteidigungsministerium am Freitag (30.09.11) mitteilte, starb der 40-jaehrige bei einer Militaeraktion im Jemen, was inzwischen auch von US-Geheimdienstkreisen bestaetigt wurde. (zu dapd-Text) Foto: Anonymous/Site Intelligence Group/AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — A top U.S. military think tank says killing American-born al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki may have weakened the Yemeni branch's ability to attack the U.S. homeland, but the only way to eliminate the threat is to take out its Yemeni leaders.

Still at large is chief Nasir al-Wahayshi, who once worked for Osama bin Laden. His skills have helped the group survive a U.S.-Yemeni counterterrorist onslaught over the past year, according to the report released Monday by West Point's Combating Terrorism Center.

The authors say al-Wahayshi's strength is also an Achilles' heel, however, because killing him and a few top chiefs would hasten the group's end.

They say Yemen's government should also work with al-Qaida's growing list of tribal enemies, who feel threatened by al-Qaida's recent campaign to seize Yemeni territory.