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Al Qaida Yemen media chief 'killed'

The media chief for al Qaida's Yemeni branch has been killed along with six other people in an air strike.

Yemen's defence ministry said Egyptian-born Ibrahim al-Bana and the six others were killed in the south-eastern province of Shabwa on Friday night.

Security officials said the air strike was among five that targeted al Qaida positions in Shabwa. They said the strikes were carried out by US aircraft.

The strikes came two weeks after a US drone strike killed prominent US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a Muslim preacher and internet operator who became a powerful al Qaida tool for recruiting in the West.

Killed with him was Samir Khan, a Pakistani-American who was a propagandist for Yemen's al Qaida branch, al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

The latest air strike underlines the growing use by the United States of drones to hit al Qaida militants in Yemen in what appears to be a determined effort to remove the threat emanating from the group, blamed for plotting or inspiring a series of attacks on American soil and in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, a staunch Washington ally.

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