WASHINGTON — The U.S. military says an American airstrike in Yemen has killed a top commander for the al-Qaida affiliate there and two of his associates.
U.S. Central Command says the strike in Shabwa province killed Abu Khattab al Awlaqi, the emir of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. The U.S. says he was leading efforts to fuel instability in southern Yemen and to plan attacks on civilians, and was closely linked to AQAP leaders.
The U.S. military has conducted at least 80 airstrikes this year targeting AQAP, which the U.S. considers one of the most dangerous terrorist threats to America and the West.
Officials say they don't believe he is related to Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric who inspired attacks on America and was killed in a U.S. airstrike in September 2011.