Ifølge pakistanske kilder ble al Qaidas nummer to, Abu Yahya al-Libi, drept i et amerikansk droneangrep mandag.
Abu Yahya al-Libi, one of al Qaeda’s top strategists and the man seen as the most prominent figure in the network after leader Ayman al Zawahri, may have been killed in a drone strike in Pakistan, Pakistani intelligence officials said on Tuesday.
If his death is confirmed it would be the biggest blow to al-Qaida since U.S. special forces killed Osama bin Laden in a secret raid in Pakistan in May 2011.
U.S. sources said Libi, a Libyan cleric with a degree in chemistry who has survived previous attacks by drone aircraft, was a target of a strike early on Monday in northwest Pakistan’s North Waziristan region, home to some of the world’s most notorious militant groups.
Some U.S. officials describe Libi, whose real name is Mohamed Hassan Qaid, as number two to Zawahri, the former Egyptian doctor who took over al-Qaida after bin Laden’s death.
Pakistani intelligence officials told Reuters they believe Libi, which means Libyan in Arabic, may have been among seven foreign militants killed in Monday’s strike.
One of the officials said Pakistani authorities had intercepted telephone chatter about Libi, an al-Qaida theologian and expert on new media whose escape from a U.S.-run prison in Afghanistan in 2005 made him famous in al-Qaida circles.
«We intercepted some conversations between militants. They were talking about the death of a ‘sheikh’,» one of the Pakistani intelligence officials said, referring to the title given to senior religious leaders.
Top al-Qaida strategist may have been killed in Pakistan
If confirmed, death of Abu Yahya al-Libi would be biggest blow to al-Qaida since killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011.