Sanaa (Yemen), Dec. 25 (ANI): Yemeni forces, backed by the United States, launched a major attack Thursday on a meeting of senior al-Qaeda operatives thought to include the Yemeni American cleric linked to the suspect in the Fort Hood shootings, U.S. and Yemeni officials said.
According to the Washington Post, American officials believe that the cleric, Anwar al-Aulaqi, was probably killed in the assault, as were two al-Qaeda leaders.
One of those leaders was the head of the terrorist network's operations on the Arabian Peninsula and once served as Osama bin Laden's personal secretary; the other was a Saudi national and former detainee at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Yemeni officials, tribal leaders and eyewitnesses said it was not clear whether Aulaqi and the al-Qaeda leaders were killed or wounded in the strike. They cautioned that it could take days for authorities to identify the dead.
Still, the U.S. involvement in the strike in southeastern Yemen-along with a similar strike in the country last week-appears to reflect greater willingness by the Obama administration to use military force in confronting terrorists outside the traditional war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan.
It was not clear whether U.S. firepower was employed in either attack.
The Thursday assault killed at least 30 suspected militants, according to Yemeni security and government sources. (ANI)