A high-ranking member of al-Qaeda and a radical Islamic cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, was targeted and killed in Khashef town of Yemen's Jawf province, a statement from the country's foreign press office said.

Yemeni security officials told the Associated Press that there was an airstrike Friday morning in the country's east, between al-Jawf and Marib regions. The U.S. is yet to confirm Yemen's claim.

The New Mexico-born Muslim preacher had been linked to al-Qaeda's Arabian Peninsula unit, and had attempted to bomb a U.S. passenger jet on Christmas day in 2009. al-Awlaki is believed to have planned the Texas army base shooting rampage in which 13 people were killed last year.

He influenced many people in terrorism and has been taking an active role in the planning of actual terror attacks against the United States.

al-Awlaki is believed to be the leader of al-Qaeda's Arabian Peninsula branch which U.S. security agencies see as the most active branch of the global terror network against the U.S.

A Brooklyn man convicted of conspiracy to kill U.S. soldiers abroad had said that he had been radicalized by the Internet speeches by Anwar al-Alwaki.

al-Awlaki is on a U.S. kill-or-capture list and was accused by Washington of inspiring several attacks in the United States.

In April, President Barack Obama approved an order making al-Awlaki the first American ever to be placed on the Central Intelligence Agency's hit list. There have been previous reports claiming his death in 2009 and 2010, but they turned out to be erroneous.