The US-born radical Islamist cleric and suspected al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki has been killed in Yemen, the country’s defence ministry reported.
US administration officials confirmed the reports, according to US media.
Awlaki, of Yemeni descent, has been on the run in Yemen since December 2007.
The US had named him a “specially designated global terrorist” for his alleged role in a number of attacks and US President Barack Obama is said to have personally ordered his killing.
The defence ministry statement said only that he died “along with some of his companions”.
It gave no further details of his death.
But tribal sources told AFP news agency Awlaki was killed in an air strike in the eastern Marib province, said to be an al-Qaeda stronghold.
It is not clear whether he was killed by Yemeni forces or a US drone strike.
The death was also announced on Yemeni TV.
BBC security correspondent Gordon Correra says the killing, if confirmed, is significant, because Awlaki is able to reach out to people susceptible to radicalisation through his use of the media.
The reported death comes amid concerns in Washington about the impact of Yemen’s political crisis on its ability to go after al-Qaeda militants.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
- Formed in January 2009 by a merger between al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia and Yemen
- Based in eastern Yemen
- Led by Nasser al-Wuhayshi, a Yemeni former aide to Osama Bin Laden. Deputy leader is Saudi ex-Guantanamo inmate Said al-Shihri
- Aims to topple Saudi monarchy and Yemeni government, and establish an Islamic caliphate
- Came to prominence with Riyadh bombings in 2003, and 2008 attack on US embassy in Sanaa
- Says it was behind an attempt to blow up US passenger jet in December 2009
President Ali Abdullah Saleh is facing a widespread protest movement, along with an armed insurrection by renegade army units and tribal fighters.
Mr Saleh, who was injured three months ago when his residence was shelled, returned last week after treatment in Saudi Arabia.
He said in an interview published on Thursday that he will not stand down, as promised in a deal brokered by Gulf States, if his opponents are allowed to stand in elections to succeed him.
Targeted beforeAwlaki is described by US officials as a key leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
He has been implicated in the US army base killings in Fort Hood, Texas, the Christmas 2009 Detroit airline bomb attempt, and a failed bombing in New York’s Times Square.
When he was imam of a San Diego mosque in the 1990s, his sermons were attended by two future 9/11 hijackers, Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi.
In a video posted in November last year he called for the killing of Americans, saying they were from the “party of devils”.
Weeks later, he survived an air strike in Shabwa province in which at least 30 militants were killed.
He has been reported dead in the past following US air strikes on southern Yemen in December 2009 and November 2010. He was the target of a US drone attack that killed two al Qaeda operatives in southern Yemen on 5 May.
Anwar al-Awlaki was born on April 22nd, 1971 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anwar_Awlaki
April 22nd, 1971
4 + 22 +2+0+1+1 = 30 = his personal year (from April 22nd, 2011 to April 21st, 2012) = Blessings.
30 year + 9 (September) = 39 = his personal month (from September 22nd, 2011 to October 21st, 2011) = Half-truths.
39 month + 30 (30th of the month on September 30th, 2011) = 69 = his personal day = Marked for death.
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