DUBAI (Reuters/AFP) - A US-born cleric has urged Muslims to kill US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan and vowed to step up attacks against the US military, according to a videotape released on Sunday. Anwar al-Awlaki, wanted dead or alive by US authorities, is a leading figure linked to Al-Qaedas Yemen-based wing. He is believed to be on the run in the impoverished Gulf Arab state. Muslims should object to whats going on either verbally or by physical action, Awlaki said in the 45-minute interview posted on an website. Reuters could not immediately verify the authenticity of the recording. The cleric urged all Muslims serving in the US army to follow the example of Maj Nidal Hasan who stands accused of killing 13 comrades at Fort Hood, a Texas army base, in November. What Nidal Hasan did was heroic... and I call on all Muslims serving in the US army to follow his path, Awlaki said in the video posted by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) on jihadist websites, the US monitoring group SITE reported. He praised the actions of US Army psychiatrist Maj Nidal Hassan. Nidal Hassan was my student ... Im proud of Nidal Hasan and this was a heroic act, he said, adding: Who can object to what he did? He killed soldiers on their way to Iraq and Afghanistan. If the situation remains we will see new Nidal Hassan appearing, Awlaki said in the tape. These American soldiers on their way to Afghanistan and Iraq, we will kill them. Asked by an interviewer if killing US soldiers would have a negative impact on Muslims in the US, Awlaki said defending Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan was a larger priority. Is protecting the reputation of Muslims in America more important than bombs dropping on millions of Muslims elsewhere? The US said on Sunday it was actively hunting Awlaki. We are actively trying to find him and many others throughout the world that seek to do our country and to do our interests great harm, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said. He has an agenda just like Al-Qaeda to strike targets in Yemen, throughout the world including here in the US, Gibbs said on CBS Face the Nation programme. Awlaki also defended Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian student accused of a failed attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound passenger plane with explosives last Christmas. The operation was very successful even though it did not even kill anyone, he said. Those who were to be killed in the plane are nothing compared to... a million women and children in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan, whom he accused the US military of having killed. We must treat them the same way and attack them just like theyve attacked us. Awlaki insisted he was safe in Yemen. During the 45-minute video, Awlaki also accused Sanaa of collaborating with Washington to attack Yemenis. The preacher said that Americans cannot launch a third campaign, after Iraq and Afghanistan because if they enter Yemen, their soldiers will be killed in our mountains, valleys, and deserts.