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Get Ready for the Terrorist Avatars

By George Michael

After the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government has shown no compunction about eliminating key terrorists. For example, on September 30, 2011, two U.S. Predator drones launched Hellfire missiles at a vehicle as it traveled on a road in Yemen’s al-Jawf province, killing Anwar al-Awlaki and other al Qaeda operatives.

Once characterized as the “bin Laden of the internet,” his pronouncements were broadly disseminated on jihadist websites and social media platforms. Fluent in both Arabic and English, he was regarded as a gifted speaker capable of moving men into action. Although he was believed to have had an operational role in planning some terrorist attacks, his main function seemed to have been that of a “virtual recruiter” who exhorted jihadists to launch lone wolf attacks on their own initiative. Just a few years later, a similar CIA drone strike was carried out against Adam Gadahn in January of 2015, which left him dead. A convert to Islam, Gadahn was also a key al Qaeda spokesman whose propagandistic lectures were popular in the global jihadist subculture.

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