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UN lists US-born Muslim cleric as al Qaeda member

Anwar Awlaki was placed by the U.S. Treasury Department as a "specially designated global terrorist”.

July 21, 2010 3:25 by

The United Nations blacklisted a U.S.-born Muslim cleric as member of al Qaeda on Tuesday, just days after the United States put him on its own blacklist, diplomats said.

Anwar al-Awlaki, now operating in Yemen and suspected of having helped direct a failed attempt to blow up a U.S. passenger jet on Christmas Day 2009, was placed on a U.N. list of people linked to al Qaeda and the Taliban under the decision by a Security Council committee.

The listing requires U.N. member states — virtually all the world’s countries — to impose an assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo against Awlaki, 39, who joins more than 250 people on the list said to be tied to al Qaeda.

Last Friday, Awlaki was blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury Department as a “specially designated global terrorist,” freezing any assets he may have under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibiting Americans from engaging in transactions with him.

The Obama administration in April authorized operations to capture or kill the New Mexico-born Awlaki, who has been described by some U.S. officials as America’s top terrorist threat.

Washington says Awlaki is a senior leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and gave instructions to Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, accused of trying to detonate a bomb on a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Dec. 25.

It also says he recruits people to al Qaeda, assists terrorism training at camps in Yemen and encourages the group’s focus on planning attacks on U.S. interests.

In a statement, the U.S. State Department said the twin blacklistings would help stop money flowing to Awlaki and AQAP and “support the international effort to degrade AQAP’s capabilities to execute violent attacks and to disrupt, dismantle and defeat their networks.”

(Reporting by Patrick Worsnip; Editing by Bill Trott)

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