On Friday, Yemen's Defense Ministry announced that Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric linked to al-Qaeda's Yemen-based wing, was killed but did not specify the circumstances of his death.
In a statement released via text message to reporters it said: "The terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki has been killed along with some of his companions."
Tribal sources told Al Arabiya that Awlaki and his companions were killed in an air strike when they were driving in Marib province, an al-Qaeda stronghold in eastern Yemen.
It has not yet been verified who was behind the attacks. In May Awlaki escaped an attempt on his life in a U.S. drone attack against him.
Awlaki frequently encouraged attacks on the United States in both English and Arabic and was feared for his ability to recruit Westerners in joining al-Qaeda.
He is alleged to have had links to a U.S. army major charged with shooting dead 13 people in Fort Hood Texas and to a Nigerian student charged with attempting to blow up an airplane on Christmas Day in 2009.
U.S. authorities labeled him a "global terrorist" when they authorized his targeted killing last year whereas Sana’a previously appeared reluctant to act against him.
An American analyst group described Awlaki’s death as a “significant blow to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.”