Anwar al-Awlaki was killed using two Predator drones and hellfire missiles in a morning air raid in the northern al-Jawf province that borders Saudi Arabia, 8 km (five miles) from the town of Khashef, about 140 km east of Sanaa, at about 9:55 am (0655 GMT) today. Al-Awlaki was in a moving vehicle with 3 or 4 others at the time of the strike. He's dead and the only good terrorist is a dead terrorist. They can run, but they can't hide forever.
Fox News is reporting that a second American, Samir Khan, was also killed with al-Awlaki. Read all about Samir Khan here.
The CIA had a "kill or capture" order on al-Awlaki who was the called the head of AQAP, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. However, Hindustan Times reports Awlaki was not a senior Islamic cleric, nor a commander of AQAP, which is led by a Yemeni named Nasser al-Wuhayshi,former aide to Osama bin laden) but he played a key role in the group's global outreach. His death is being described as the most prominent Al Qaeda figure t9o be killed sinceOsama bin Laden, which is probably true. Who will move up into al-Awlaki's position and does it really matter?
"Awlaki's death won't hurt al Qaeda's operations because he didn't have a leadership role. But the organisation has lost an important figure for recruiting people from afar," said Said Obeid, a Yemeni analyst on al Qaeda.
Henry Wilkinson, head analyst at risk consultancy Janusian in London, said Awlaki's demise would have little impact on AQAP's local operations, but added: "He was a rare talent who could reach out and recruit and mobilise. If the US have killed Awlaki, then they have achieved a major target." [snip]
Awlaki's killing, if confirmed, deprives al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) of an eloquent preacher seen as its most talented English-language propagandist who has advocated -- and been implicated in -- attacks on the United States.
Some of the hijackers in the September 11, 2001 attacks attended mosques where Awlaki preached in the United States.
His death could be a boon for Yemen's embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh, clinging to power despite months of popular protests, factional violence and international pressure.
It was not immediately clear if Yemen had carried out the raid or if Awlaki had been killed by a US drone strike. A US drone aircraft targeted but missed Awlaki in May.
"The terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki has been killed along with some of his companions," the Yemeni defence ministry said in a statement texted to journalists, but gave no details. (continue reading)