Al-Qaida's Anwar al-Awlaki - AP - 16.4.11
Al-Qaida's Anwar al-Awlaki speaking in a video message posted on radical websites in 2010. Photo by AP
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Tribal elders say the son of slain U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki has been killed in a U.S. missile strike along with six other al-Qaida militants, including the media chief of the terror group's Yemeni branch.

The elders in the southeastern province of Shabwa where the strike took place identified the son as 21-year-old Abdul-Rahman al-Awlaki. There was no official confirmation of his death from Yemeni authorities.

A Yemen Defense Ministry statement said Egyptian-born Ibrahim al-Bana was killed in the southeastern province of Shabwa on Friday night along with six other militants. Security officials said an American drone carried out the airstrike, which was one of five overnight strikes that targeted suspected al-Qaida positions in Shabwa and the neighboring province of Abyan in Yemen's largely lawless south.

The elders, who spoke Saturday on condition of anonymity because they feared reprisals, had earlier said that five of al-Awlaki's clan were among the seven people killed in the missile attack.

The older al-Awlaki, a gifted Muslim preacher and savvy Internet operator who became a powerful al-Qaida recruiting tool, was killed Sept. 30, also in a U.S.¬ drone attack.

Meanwhile, medical officials in Yemen say security forces have fired on protesters in the capital Sanaa, killing eight and wounding at least 38.

The officials said the security forces opened fire with live ammunition on Saturday when tens of thousands of protesters approached an area of central Sanaa under the control of the Republican Guards, an elite force led by the son of embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh. They also used tear gas and water hoses to disperse the protesters.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Saturday's demonstration was part of an eight-month-old protest movement calling for the ouster of Saleh, Yemen's leader of 33 years.