Al Qaeda’s second-in-command Abu Yahya al-Libi killed in CIA drone attack
Al-Libi was targetted in a pre-dawn US drone strike in North Waziristan, a Taliban and Al Qaeda stronghold along the Afghan border, on Monday.
American officials are describing al-Libi’s death as the most important blow to Al Qaeda since US special forces troops swooped into Pakistan last year and killed Osama bin Laden.
A trusted lieutenant of bin Laden, al-Libi has appeared in countless Al-Qaeda videos and is considered the chief architect of its global propaganda machine.
He was a Libyan citizen and had a $1 million price on his head.
White House spokesman Jay Carney called al-Libi’s death a ‘major blow’ to the group and described him as an operational leader and a ‘general manager’ of al Qaeda.
He said al-Libi had a range of experience that would be hard for al Qaeda to replicate and brought the terror network closer than ever to its ultimate demise.
Carney said: ‘His death is part of the degradation that has been taking place to core al Qaeda during the past several years and that degradation has depleted the ranks to such an extent that there’s no clear successor.’
The announcement comes as U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan entered their third consecutive day, with rockets killing 15 people in the country’s northwest on Monday afternoon.
This attack brought the death toll from drone attacks in Pakistan in the past three days to 27.
Al-Libi would be the latest in the dozen-plus senior commanders removed in the clandestine U.S. war against al-Qaeda since Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden last year.
The White House maintains a list of terrorist targets to be killed or captured, compiled by the military and the CIA and ultimately approved by the president.
Al-Libi’s death would be ‘another reason not to accept Pakistan’s demand for an end to drone wars,’ added Brookings Institute’s Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer and adviser to the White House on Afghanistan and Pakistan policy.
Pakistani protesters took to the streets on Monday, shouting anti-U.S. slogans during a demonstration in the city of Multan.
They burnt both U.S. and Nato flags as they chanted and their hand-drawn signs had slogans stating ‘America and Nato are war terrorists.”