Nasser al-Wuhayshi, the leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), has reportedly been killed in a US airstrike in Yemen.

Reports suggest al-Wuhayshi was killed during an attack in the southeast Hadramawt province on 12 June.

The AQAP is considered to be the most powerful arm of the Islamist group al-Qaeda, as well as being the most notorious.

Al-Wuhayshi was widely seen as a close deputy of the slain al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, with whom he had spent several years. Twitter accounts, which are known to be affiliated with the AQAP militants, have also confirmed that the commander has been martyred.

Tweets also suggest that Qasm al-Rimi, also known by his alias Abu Hureira al-Sanaani, will take over the militant group. CNN cited two Yemeni national security officials authenticating al-Wuhayshi's killing.

Neither the US officials nor an official statement from the AQAP have authenticated al-Wuhayshi's death. But several mourning notices from AQAP supporters are being posted on Twitter.

Analysts have said this would be a huge boost for the US forces if the news about the militant leader's death is confirmed. Al-Wuhayshi's absence is bound to have serious repercussions on the Islamist group and its abilities.

Al-Wuhayshi, a Yemeni national, became the chief of AQAP in 2009.