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."