An official from the U.S. State Department has called the Charlotte family of al-Qaida propagandist Samir Khan to offer the government's condolences on his death in a U.S. drone attack last week in Yemen, according to a family spokesman.
"They were very apologetic (for not calling the family sooner) and offered condolences," Jibril Hough said about the Thursday call from the State Department to Khan's father, Zafar.
The phone call came a day after the family released a statement through Hough that condemned the "assassination" of their 25-year-old son - a U.S. citizen - and said they were "appalled" that they had not heard from the U.S. government to discuss their son's remains or answer questions about why Khan was not afforded due process.
On Friday, State Department spokesman Harry Edwards confirmed to the Observer that the call had been made, but said "privacy issues" kept him from offering details.
Hough said the Thursday conversation lasted a few minutes.
"It wasn't just 'I'm sorry' and hang-up," said Hough, who added that the phone call included no discussion of the status or condition of Khan's remains.
Khan was killed along with cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.
Also a U.S. citizen, al-Awlaki was a leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and appeared to be the main target of the drone attack.
Hough said Khan's father's reaction to the call was "kind of positive and optimistic."
"The (family) statement appears to have gotten their attention."
But, Hough added, the family would still like answers to the civil liberties-related questions.
"The discussion doesn't stop with a phone call, though the contact was a step in the right direction," he said.
Khan authored a radical blog while he lived in Charlotte - one his father, Hough and others unsuccessfully tried to persuade him to abandon. Then, in 2009, Khan moved to Yemen to produce al-Qaida's "Inspire," an English-language online magazine. In one early edition, Khan said he was "proud to be a traitor to America."
One of his articles was titled "How to Build a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom."
Bobo admin "We're sorry we killed him before he could kill any Americans here at home, very very sorry".