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Yemen Cleric Criticizes Yemen For Helping US

CAIRO (AP) - A U.S.-born radical Yemeni cleric with links to al-Qaida slammed the Yemeni government for cooperating with the U.S. in strikes on locals in an audio message posted on Sunday.

According to the translation by the U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group which monitors radical websites, Ayman al-Awlaki said it was a crime that the Yemeni government was helping the U.S. to bomb the people of Yemen.

He also warned the media in the Islamic world against being used as a "tool for American occupation" and criticized the U.S. for oppressing Julian Assange, the founder of whistle-blowing website, Wikileaks.

According to SITE, the audio recording appeared on a websites linked to jihadi organizations.

Al-Awlaki, thought to be hiding in Yemen, is believed to have inspired and even plotted or helped coordinate some of the recent attacks on the U.S. That includes the failed Christmas Day 2009 bombing of an airliner heading for Detroit, Michigan, and the also unsuccessful plot to send mail bombs on planes from Yemen to the United States in October.

Yemen is the Arab world's most impoverished nation and has become a haven for al-Qaida militants.