A high-ranking Yemeni security official who spoke on condition of anonymity said that Mr. Awlaki was killed while traveling between Marib and al-Jawf provinces in northern Yemen these areas known for having a al- Qaeda presence and where there is very little central government control.
The death of Awlaki is the most significant blow to the al-Qaeda organisation since Bin Laden was assassinated in May. He was one of the few senior operatives orientated to western ways and in recent years had become increasingly strident in his calls for Muslims to wage jihad against the US.
Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico and spoke fluent English, became an Internet phenomenon by producing video and audio recordings to lure Westerners into extremist ideologies. Awlaki was implicated in attempts to blow up U.S. airliners, including the botched plot by a Nigerian man to detonate explosives in his underwear in 2009. That same year the cleric was blamed for inspiring U.S. Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan to allegedly kill 13 people at Ft. Hood, Texas.
This appears to be the first time in the United States-led war on terrorism since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks that an American citizen had been deliberately targeted and killed by American forces. It was also the second high-profile killing of an al Qaeda leader in the past five months under the Obama administration, which ordered the American commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan last May.