When al-Awlaki's termination was announced, I wondered what verification there was. Few details were given except that he was travelling in a car that was hit. But in Afghanistan and Pakistan militant leaders are often reported as killed only to turn up again later. There may even be cases where militant groups confirm reports in order to ensure leaders are no longer targeted. What struck me about the al-Awlaki hit is that no news agencies seemed to show even a little doubt about reports. It is now simply accepted as true. Perhaps it is but it surely would be incumbent upon the press in these situations to at least be aware of the lack of verification.
On September 30, the Yemeni Defence Ministry said al-Awlaki, a US-born radical Islamist cleric had been killed in an airstrike. However security sources told a Yemeni press site:'The latest information available to the security agencies is that al-Awlaki was driving in a motorcade of three cars when a US drone targeted them (on September 30),' One car was hit but the other two escaped. The source went on:.'There is no irrefutable information that al-Awlaki was inside the hit car,'
The informant said it was hard to identify the remains left after the raid. He said:'There was no actual body. All that was left after the incident were mere remains mixed with wrecked pieces of the targeted car,' 'These remains were collected and buried by residents in the area.' I thought perhaps U.S. operatives might have taken samples for DNA matching but apparently that did not happen. While this article may be unreliable one wonders if it is any more unreliable than some reports by major news agencies.