The radical Islamist who allegedly replaced Osama bin Laden has been killed, according to AFP news agency.

His death is reported to have been as a result of a US airstrike in his ancestral home of Yemen, where Awlaki was on the run.

A citizen of the USA, Awlaki was an approved as a target by US president Barack Obama – which made him the first United States citizen to be put on a list of legitimate targets.

The Islamic lecturer and spiritual leader was prolific on the internet with his own YouTube channel and various social media outlets. He was accused by the US as being a planner and recruiter for the al-Queda terrorist organisation.

His sermons at a mosque in San Diego were attended by three of the hijackers involved in 9/11, and he was said to be the man behind media operations including the al-Queda magazine Inspire.

"Awlaki's output has been key in the process that turns those who are angry, adventurous, alienated or simply attracted by radical ideas into militants. His death is therefore an important blow to radical Islamic activism today." said The Guardian's Jason Burke