Top 5 attacks linked to Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki

The Yemen bomb plot has brought fresh scrutiny to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, of which Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki is thought to be a key leader. Mr. Awlaki has not been officially linked to this latest attack, although Yemen – under international pressure to rein in AQAP – put him on trial in absentia today for plotting to kill foreigners.

Mr. Awlaki, a Yemeni-American fluent in English who has been on the radar of US intelligence and military for several years, has a track record of promoting attacks against US targets. Here are some of the incidents to which he has been linked:

1.Call for assassination of a US cartoonist

Anwar-al-Awlaki. (Muhammad ud-Deen/AP/File)

In July 2010, Awlaki called for the assassination of Seattle Weekly cartoonist Molly Norris after she encouraged the idea of "Everyone Draw Mohammed Day." Ms. Norris, per a recommendation from the FBI, has since changed her name and moved, essentially eliminating her prior identity, in order to thwart any assassination attempts.

Times Square car bomb

In May 2010, Faisal Shahzad attempted to execute an attack using a car bomb in New York City's Times Square. The plot was foiled and Shahzad, who is Pakistani, pled guilty to the plot in June. Shahzad said he was inspired by al-Alwaki, The Christian Science Monitor reported.

Christmas Day underwear bomber

On Christmas Day 2009, Nigeria-born Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to detonate a bomb hidden in his underwear aboard a plane bound for Detroit.

Instead of detonating, the bomb caught on fire and airline crew and passengers were able to subdue him. Mr. Abdulmutallab told investigators that he received training from Al Qaeda associates in Yemen and met with several leaders, including Alwaki, the Monitor reported.

Fort Hood shooting

In November 2009, US Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire on the Texas army base Fort Hood, killing 13 and wounding 29.

The attack was initially considered an isolated incident carried out by a troubled man, but links between him and Awlaki, with whom he was in contact via e-mail, later surfaced, the Monitor reported. In a blog, Awlaki praised Hasan and called him a "hero."

9-11 attacks

Al-Awlaki has also been linked with some of the hijackers involved in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. He was said to be the spiritual advisor to two of hijackers and may have met with them before the 9-11 attacks – and known about them ahead of time. Some of his sermons were attended by the hijackers the same year of the attacks, and the phone number of his mosque was found in an apartment in Germany belonging to one of the 9/11 plotters.

MONITOR REPORT: Read more about Al-Awlaki's background.