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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Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric linked to al Qaida's Yemen-based wing, has been killed, Yemen's Defense Ministry said on Friday. "The terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki has been killed along with some of his companions," it said in a statement sent by text message to journalists, but gave no details.

A Yemeni security official said Awlaki, who is of Yemeni descent, was hit in an air raid and said those killed with him were suspected al-Qaida members.

It was not immediately clear if Yemeni forces had carried out the raid or if Awlaki had been killed by a U.S. drone strike. A U.S. drone aircraft targeted but missed Alwaki in May. U.S. officials were not immediately available for comment.

Awlaki had been implicated in a botched attempt by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to bomb a U.S.-bound plane in 2009. U.S. authorities have branded him a "global terrorist" but Sanaa had previously appeared reluctant to act against him.

Eloquent in English and Arabic, Awlaki encouraged attacks on the United States and was seen as a man who could draw in more al-Qaida recruits from Western countries.