Anwar al-Awlaki's life of extremism

In US, Yemen and online, the al-Qaida cleric had a single-minded pursuit of jihad

April 1971 Born in the southern US state of New Mexico to Yemeni parents.

1978 Returns to Yemen with his family, where he lives for 11 years and studies Islam at Azal Modern school.

1991 Returns to the US to attend Colorado State University.

1994 Graduates with a BS in civil engineering and marries a cousin from Yemen. He also takes a part-time job as imam at the Denver Islamic Society.

1996-2000 Earns a master's in education from San Diego State. Also serves as imam of a mosque in San Diego. His sermons are attended by two future 9/11 hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi.

2001 Moves to a mosque in Virginia, which was attended by Hazmi and a third hijacker, Hani Hanjour. The 9/11 commission found the connections suspicious, speculating that he gave spiritual encouragement to the attackers.

2002 Moves to the UK, giving lectures to Muslim youths, describing the rewards of martyrs in paradise.

2004 Returns to southern province of Shabwa in Yemen and becomes a lecturer at al-Iman University, a Sunni religious school in Sana'a headed by Abdul-Majid al-Zindani, a cleric designated a terrorist by the US and UN for his suspected links with al-Qaida.

2006 Detained by Yemeni authorities, reportedly on charges relating to a plot to kidnap a US military attache. Spends 18 months in prison.

November 2009 US army officer Major Nidal Malik Hasan kills 13 people and injures 30 more in a mass shooting at the Fort Hood military base in Texas. The military psychiatrist opened fire with two handguns on fellow soldiers at a training centre. Hasan heard Awlaki preaching at the Dar al-Hiraj mosque in 2001 and also received religious advice from him via email.

December 2009 Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempts to blow up a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines jet on Christmas Day with a bomb concealed in his underwear. US officials believe Abdulmutallab met Awlaki in Yemen just weeks before the attempt. Awlaki later admitted that he had "communications" with the Nigerian, though he denied any role in the attack.

April 2010 The US authorises Awlaki's capture or killing, and he is placed on the CIA target list. The imam says in a videotape that jihad against the US is the duty of every able Muslim.

May 2010 Faisal Shazhad attempts to set off a car bomb in Times Square. He tells interrogators he was influenced by Awlaki's rhetoric and inspired by his online messages.

May 2010 Roshonara Choudhry, a 21-year-old British Muslim student at King's College London, stabs the Labour MP Stephen Timms, after selecting him from a list of MPs who had voted in favour of invading Iraq. Police believe she had no direct contact with Islamic extremists but was entirely self-radicalised by the online sermons of Awlaki.

July 2010 The US names Awlaki as a "specially designated global terrorist"', and blocks his assets and mademakes it a crime for Americans to do business with him.

October 2010 Saudi militant Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri masterminds an al-Qaida ink-cartridge bomb described as the "most sophisticated" device seen for a decade. The bomb, discovered at East Midlands airport, is timed to detonate over the eastern seaboard of the US. Asiri had fled to Yemen in 2008 and was in touch with Awlaki.

November 2010 Yemeni authorities place Awlaki on trial in absentia, charging him with inciting violence against foreigners in connection with the killing a French security guard at an oil company compound. Prosecutors claim Awlaki and his cousin, Osman, were in contact with the alleged attacker, Hisham Assem. Awlaki is placed on Yemen's most-wanted list.

30 December 2010 Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a Somali-born US citizen, is arrested by the FBI for an attempted bombing. The American-born Somali planned to detonate the device as thousands attended the lighting of a Christmas tree in the centre of Portland, Oregon. It is thought he was inspired by Awlaki.

September 2011 Believed to have been killed in an air strike between the provinces of Marib and Jawf.

Pari Thomson

The GuardianTramp

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