In a major blow to al Qaeda, American born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was killed in Yemen on Friday, that country’s defense ministry has announced. A senior Obama administration official confirmed the news to The New York Times. A Yemeni official said Awlaki was killed in an airstrike on his convoy, possibly carried out by U.S. drones. Several of his bodyguards were also killed. Awlaki, in addition to being a major figure in the terrorist cell’s powerful Yemen branch, had been known to inspire plots in the United States, included that of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who was charged in killing 13 people at Ford Hood in Texas. He was killed in an area of Yemen known to be under control of al Qaeda, with little government influence.