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Top Al-Qaida Leader Reportedly Killed in Yemen

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula's second-in-command has been killed in Yemen, a government website reports.

Saudi national Saeed al-Shehri was killed in the Hadramawt area of southern Yemen along with six other militants, according to the website and ministry of defense officials quoted by the BBC.

Al-Shehri was released from Guantanamo Bay in 2007 and is alleged later to have been part of a failed Christmas 2009 plot to bomb Northwest Airlines Flight 253, en route from Amsterdam to Detroit. Nigerian-born Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who sought to blow up the airliner with a bomb concealed in his underwear, pleaded guilty to the crime and was sentenced to life in prison earlier this year.

UPDATE at 10:50 ET:

The Associated Press quotes Yemeni Defense Ministry officials, who asked not to be identified, as saying al-Shehri was killed by a missile fired by a U.S. drone. The U.S. does not normally comment on such operations.

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