'Al Qaida No. 3 killed in Pakistan'

US official confirms strike killed Mustafa al-Yazid, family members.

June 1, 2010 13:17
1 minute read.
Sheikh Sa'id al-Masri, also known as Mustafa al-Ya

Mustafa Yazid 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)

Al Qaida No. 3 Mustafa al-Yazid was killed in US strike in Pakistan on Monday, according to an announcement from the group.

A US official said that Yazid was believed to have died along with members of his family in a US missile strike.

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A statement posted on an al-Qaida Website said Yazid, which it described as the organization's top commander in Afghanistan, was killed along with his wife, three daughters, a grandchild and other men, women and children but did not say how or where.

The statement did not give an exact date for Yazid's death, but it was dated by the Islamic calendar month of "Jemadi al-Akhar," which falls in May.

A US official in Washington said word was "spreading in extremist circles" of his death in Pakistan's tribal areas in the past two weeks.

His death would be a major blow to al-Qaida, which in December "lost both its internal and external operations chiefs," the official said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.

The Egyptian-born Yazid, also known as Sheik Saeed al-Masri, was a founding member of al-Qaida and the group's prime conduit to Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri. He was key to day-to-day control, with a hand in everything from finances to operational planning, the US official said.

Yazid has been reported killed before, in 2008, but this is the first time his death has been acknowledged by the group on the Internet.

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