x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Yemen says Al Qaeda cleric Anwar Al Awlaki killed

Anwar Al Awlaki, implicated in the attempt by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, to blow up a US-bound plane in 2009, is killed in an air raid, Yemen security officials say.

SANAA // Anwar Al Awlaki, a US-born cleric linked to Al Qaeda's Yemen-based wing, has been killed, Yemen's Defence 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 Al Awlaki, who is of Yemeni descent, was hit in an air raid and said those killed with him were suspected al Qaeda members.

It was not immediately clear if Yemeni forces had carried out the raid or if Awlaki had been killed by a US drone strike. A US drone aircraft targeted but missed Al Alwaki in May. .

US officials were not immediately available for comment.

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

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