US confirms al-Qaeda leader’s death

James Blitz in London

Anwar al-AwlakiAFP

Anwar al-Awlaki, the US-born cleric regarded by western intelligence agencies as the most dangerous figure in the global al Qaeda network, has been killed in an air raid in Yemen, the US confirmed on Friday.

A senior US official backed up an earlier statement by Yemen’s defence ministry claiming that the cleric, linked to al Qaeda’s Yemen-based wing, had died.

The official told the FT: “It’s been confirmed that Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula’s chief of external operations, Anwar al-Awlaki, was killed today in Yemen. The Yemeni government’s counterterrorism programme has remained strong despite the turmoil there.”

He added “Awlaki and AQAP are also responsible for numerous terrorist attacks in Yemen and throughout the region, which have killed scores of Muslims. His death takes a committed terrorist, intent on attacking the United States, off the battlefield.”

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