US official confirms al-Qaida No. 2 killed in drone strike

June 5, 2012 20:43

WASHINGTON - Abu Yahya al Libi, a Libyan-born top al-Qaida leader, was killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan earlier this week, a US official said on Tuesday.

US officials said that Abu Yahya had recently been considered by US counter-terrorism experts as the No. 2 in the core al-Qaida group led by Ayman al Zawahiri.

Zawahiri has headed the group since al-Qaida's founder, Osama bin Laden, was killed last year in a US commando raid on his hideout in Pakistan.

A US official said that Abu Yahya "was among al-Qaida's most experienced and versatile leaders" and that he "played a critical role in the group's planning against the West, providing oversight of the external operations efforts."

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