Yemen Strikes Kill Queens Man Along With Terrorist Who Inspired Times Sq Plot

NYPD is on alert for the possibility that followers in the U.S. might want to avenge the deaths.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    WBTV / AP
    Samir Khan was reported killed in the CIA-directed drone strike in Yemen that also killed U.S.-born cleric and al-Qa-da leader Anwar al-Awlaki.

    A publisher of an online terror magazine who grew up in Queens and wrote about his pride of being a "traitor" to America was among those killed in Yemen Friday, officials said.

    Samir Khan was killed along with the American-born al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was questioned for his ties to 9/11 and was said to have inspired both the Fort Dix, N.J., and Times Square terror plots.

    Khan was reportedly born in Saudi Arabia and raised in Queens. He recently lived in North Carolina and edited a jihadi internet magazine.

    Al-Awlaki was targeted in the killing, but Khan apparently was not targeted directly. They were killed in a joint CIA-U.S. military strike on their convoy.

    Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Friday that Khan had "extensive contacts in New York City," and noted that a recent issue of his magazine, Inspire, had suggested Grand Central Terminal as a target.

    Al-Awlaki is the most prominent al-Qaida figure to be killed since Osama bin Laden's death in a U.S. raid in Pakistan in May.

    Kelly said al-Awlaki had followers in the U.S. and New York City, adding "for that reason, we remain alert to the possibility that someone might want to avenge his death."

    Khan wasn't considered operational but had published seven issues of Inspire, offering advice on how to make bombs in your mother's kitchen, for example. The magazine was widely read.

    In one issue, Khan writes a column called "I Am Proud to Be A Traitor to America" where he says he left for Yemen after he decided he could "no longer reside in America as a compliant citizen." He says he first spent time as an English teacher there.

    Al-Awlaki claimed responsibility for the so-called Christmas day underwear bomber who tried to blow up a plane over Detroit and the plot to send printer cartridges packed with explosives to the United States.

    He was also questioned in regard to contacts he had with at least two of the 9/11 terrorists who attacked the U.S. on 9/11. Al-Awlaki was never charged in the 9/11 attack, though for many years preached support for attacks on United States soil.

    Three of the suspected hijackers attended his sermons.

    In May, Faisal Shahzad, the Connecticut man who pleaded guilty to driving an SUV loaded with explosives into Times Square with the intent to cause mass destruction and deaths, told authorities al-Awlaki "inspired" him.

    The high-ranking terrorist also was believed to have inspired the 2007 Fort Dix plot, in which six radicalists conspired to wage an attack against the United States military personnel stationed at the New Jersey base.

    Al-Awlaki himself was tied to Army Major Nidal Hasan, who went on a shooting spree in Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 American soldiers and wounding 32 others.

    Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, lauded al-Awlaki's reported death as a great success in the country's fight against terrorist networks.

    However, he urged continued vigilance.

    "Despite this vital development today, we must remain as vigilant as ever, knowing that there are more Islamic terrorists who will gladly step forward to backfill this dangerous killer," King said in a statement.