A missile fired by a U.S. drone in Yemen today killed New Mexico-born Anwar Al-Awlaki, who was Al Qaeda's "greatest English-language propagandist" and more recently one of its top operational planners, according to the New York Times.


The attack also took out Samir Khan, editor of Inspire, Al Qaeda's English-language Internet magazine. He was an U.S. citizen of Pakistani origin. Awlaki wrote an article called "Targeting the Populations of Countries that We Are at War with the Muslims" for Inspire's latest issue.

Awlaki, 40, preached in mosques in San Diego, where he met two of the 9/11 attackers, and in Falls Church, Va. He moved to Yemen in 2004.

His Internet lectures and sermons are linked to more than a dozen terror investigations including the shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, and the Times Square car bombing bid.

The Times notes that the deaths mark the first time a U.S. citizen was "deliberately targeted and killed by American forces."

Awlaki reportedly had been under surveillance for three weeks by a joint CIA and Joint Special Operations Command operation that was waiting for the right moment to strike.