Retaliation warning issued after former Charlotte man killed in Yemen

Published: Sep. 30, 2011 at 1:28 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 30, 2011 at 1:28 PM EDT
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Samir Khan in 2008 during a WBTV interview.
Samir Khan in 2008 during a WBTV interview.

Yemen/Washington/Charlotte, NC (WBTV & AP) - The Obama administration says the killing of a U.S.-born cleric and a former Charlotte man in Yemen has raised the risk of anti-American violence worldwide.

As a result, the State Department issued a travel alert Saturday.

Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was killed Friday, along with Samir Khan, a former Charlotte man who ran the al-Qaeda propaganda Web magazine, Inspire.

Originally, Yemeni officials believed al-Qaeda's top bomb maker was also killed in the attack. Sunday, Yemeni officials say that might not be the case and Ibrahim al-Asiri could still be alive. U.S. Intelligence officials do believe al-Asiri was part of the convoy.

Prior to the attack, Samir Khan had just published a new issue of al-Qaeda's online magazine earlier in the week.  WBTV was the first to report about Khan in 2008 and at the time Khan began criticizing WBTV.

In addition to Khan, the U.S. airstrike Friday also killed American-Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

Khan, who was 22-years-old in 2008, was of Pakistani heritage from Charlotte who produced "Inspire," an English-language Web magazine which spread al-Qaida ideology and promoted attacks against U.S. targets, even running articles on how to put together explosives.

Khan was living in Yemen and his main article in the latest issue dealt with American media.

In an earlier issue, Khan wrote that he had moved to Yemen and joined al-Qaida's fighters, pledging to "wage jihad for the rest of our lives."

Previous story: Charlotte man runs Al-Qaeda website

In the latest issue -- out on Tuesday --  he wrote that America "failed to respond" to al-Qaeda's propaganda their videos and books and other productions.  By not responding, Khan says this gives al-Qaeda an edge.

What he doesn't say in his article is that federal officials know about these magazines and videos, but are choosing not to debate.

WBTV's Molly Grantham uncovered Khan's involvement in 2008. At the time, Samir Khan, responded by using his website to criticize WBTV.

Previous story: Samir Khan criticizes WBTV

He wrote that WBTV was spreading lies about his website and he claimed to have never before seen the video footage we found in attached links to his site.

In 2008, Khan called the WBTV reporting "useless" and a way to try and get ratings.

When Khan was in Charlotte  he refused to answer WBTV's questions.

When discovered by WBTV, Khan worked at the McAlpine Park location of Convergys Corporation. Convergys is a firm that other companies hire to take care of customer care, H-R and billing services.

Soon after WBTV stories aired, Khan stopped working at Convergys.

His parents had sent word to us in the past they didn't support their son's anti-American beliefs.

Copyright 2011 WBTV and the Associated Press