Anwar al Awlaki’s son said he hoped “to attain martyrdom as my father attained it” just hours before he was killed in a US Predator airstrike in Yemen in mid-October, according to a journalist who sympathizes with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Abdul Rahman al Awlaki, Anwar’s 16-year-old son and an American citizen, made the statement to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s emir of the city of Azzam in Shabwa province. Azzan is one of several Yemeni cities currently under AQAP control.
“His sadness reached its peak after the American planes assassinated his father,” said Abdul Razzaq al Jamal, a Yemeni journalist from Al Wasat, according to a statement posted on jihadist forums that was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group. Jamal spent weeks with AQAP in the Zinjibar area and elsewhere in southern Yemen, and wrote articles that sympathized with the terror group’s attempts to control the region.
“But when he said to the Emir [Leader] of the city of Azzam, ‘I hope to attain martyrdom as my father attained it,’ it did not come to his mind that this will happen, and just one day after he said it. This actually happened. The son joined the father in another American raid that came only two weeks apart from the one that assassinated his father,” Jamal continued.
Jamal said that AQAP members referred to Abdul Rahman, as “Usayyid,” or the lion’s cub, and intimated that Abdul Rahman would one day replace his father.
“The word ‘usayyid’ is the diminutive form of the word ‘assad [lion],’ and in this name is
a reference to an Arab proverb: ‘This cub is from that lion,'” Jamal said.
Jamal also said that Abdul Rahman’s death was intentionally planned by the US “so that America would not be afflicted in the future with another Awlaki of the same type as Sheikh Anwar.”
AQAP attacked an oil pipeline in the Belhaf area of Shabwa province immediately after Abdul Rahman was killed, according to Jamal.
Abdul Rahman was killed in a Predator strike in Shabwa province on Oct. 14. The strike targeted Ibrahim al Bana, AQAP’s media emir. Al Bana was not killed in the attack. Abdul Rahman’s death sparked outrage from the Awlaki family, which has claimed the teenager was not involved in terrorism and was merely in Shabwa to search for his father, who had been killed two weeks earlier.
Anwar was killed in a US Predator drone airstrike on Sept. 30 in Yemen’s Al Jawf province, where al Qaeda is known to operate training camps. In addition to serving as a recruiter and ideologue for AQAP, Anwar is known to have played a role in directing terror attacks against the US. [See LWJ report, Awlaki’s emails to terror plotter show operational role, for more information.]
In a recent audiotape, Nassar al Awalki, Abdul Rahman’s grandfather, said that his grandson was not an “operational figure” in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and lauded the work of his son, Anwar. Nassar said “it is the job of all of us to spread his [Anwar’s] knowledge and keep it alive.” The audiotape was released last weekend on YouTube by Anjem Choudary, a radical Islamist preacher in Britain who leads the banned group Muslims Against Crusades. [See LWJ report, Nassar al Awlaki urges the spread of his son Anwar’s teachings, for more information on Nassar and his audiotape.]