NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born Islamic militant cleric who was a top figure in al-Qaeda's most active branch, has been killed in Yemen.

Al-Awlaki is the most prominent al-Qaeda member to be killed since Osama bin Laden's died in a U.S. raid in Pakistan in May.

"The terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki has been killed along with some of his companions," said Yemen's Defense Ministry.

A senior U.S. official said American intelligence supports the claim that he had been killed, according to

The Associated Press

.

Yemeni security officials and local tribal leaders said al-Awlaki was killed in an airstrike on his convoy that they believed was carried out by the U.S.,

AP

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said. Pilotless drones had been seen over the area in previous days.

The killing of al-Awlaki was approved by President Obama in April 2010. He was the first American placed on the CIA "kill or capture" list, according to the

AP

.

Al-Awlaki was said to be behind a botched attempt on Christmas 2009 to blow up an American airliner, and a foiled attempt in 2010 for a bombing in Chicago.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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