|Al-Awlaki said in his sermon that clerics do not need to issue any special fatwas allowing Americans to be killed [AFP]
Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born Islamic cleric linked to al-Qaeda in Yemen, has released a video in which he calls for Muslims around the world to kill Americans.
In the sermon, which appeared on several pro al-Qaeda websites on Monday, al-Awlaki said that clerics do not need to issue any special fatwas or religious rulings allowing Americans to be killed because "all Americans are the enemy".
"Don't consult with anybody in killing the Americans," he said in the 23-minute message that he delivered in Arabic.
"Fighting the devil doesn't require consultation or prayers seeking divine guidance. They are the party of the devils," he added.
"It is "either us or them."
Al-Awlaki was dressed in a traditional Yemeni garb - a white robe, turban and a sheathed dagger tucked into his waistband - and wore round spectacles while sitting behind a desk.
Mail bomb plot
Al-Awlaki has in past messages encouraged Muslims to murder American soldiers and justified the killings of American civilians by accusing the US of intentionally killing a million Muslim civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
But this message appeared stronger, arguing that no justification was needed.
Al-Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico to Yemeni parents, has been tied by US intelligence to the September 11 hijackers and to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab who tried to blow up an airliner over Detroit on Christmas last year with explosives hidden in his underwear.
He was also in contact with Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people in November at the Fort Hood, Texas military base.
US investigators say since he returned to Yemen in 2006, al-Awlaki has moved beyond just inspiring rebels to becoming an active operative in al-Qaeda's affiliate there.
On Friday, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the group's offshoot in Yemen claimed responsibility for sending bombs through the mail in packages addressed to the US.
The bombs were found at airports in England and Dubai, United Arab Emirates before they exploded.
Short excerpts from the al-Awlaki video posted on Monday were released on October 23, two weeks before the mail bombs were uncovered. But this was the first full posting of the video.
Al-Awlaki also attacked rulers in the Arab world, particularly Yemen, describing them as corrupt and he called on religious scholars to declare them "non-Muslims" for betraying the Muslim people.
"Kings, emirs, and presidents are now not qualified to lead the nation, or even a flock of sheep," he said.
"If the leaders are corrupt, the scholars have the responsibility to lead the nation."
He added that these leaders would have to be removed for the Muslim people to move forward.
The only way Muslims can protect themselves from the threat of the infidels is by supporting the "mujahedeen", he said, referring to al-Qaeda fighters.
"If we support the mujahedeen, we will win it all and if we let them down, we will lose it all," he said.