Imam tied to Fort Hood shooter ‘killed’ in Yemen raid

Sanaa, Yemen–A radical Muslim preacher linked by United States intelligence to a gunman who killed 13 people at a US Army base is believed to have died in a Yemen airstrike on Al-Qaeda militants, a security official said on Thursday.

"Anwar al-Awlaki is suspected to be dead [in the air raid]," said the Yemeni official, who asked not to be identified. Yemen said 30 militants were killed in the strike in the eastern province of Shabwa. The attacks took place as the militants were gathered for a meeting, he said.

The official said initial reports that two top Al-Qaeda members in the Arabian peninsula had been killed could not be verified.

"We are still unsure if two of the top leaders have been killed or not. One of them is the Saudi Al-Qaeda member Nasser al-Weheshi," he added, declining to say whether more strikes would take place on Thursday.

The gunman in the 5 November shooting at the Fort Hood, Texas army base, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, had contacts with Awlaki late last year, US authorities believe.

Yemen’s Supreme Security Committee issued a warning to citizens in the province of Shabwa not to aid the militants.

On Monday, Yemen said its security forces and warplanes last week foiled a planned series of suicide bombings. About 30 Al-Qaeda militants were killed in those airstrikes with 17 arrested in Abyan and in Arhab, northeast of the capital Sanaa.

Yemen, which has intensified its campaign against Al-Qaeda militants over recent weeks, is also facing a Shia rebellion in the north and secessionist violence in the south.

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