United States officials speaking anonymously confirmed Tuesday the death of Abu Yahya al-Libi, the second-in-command of al Qaeda behind leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Al-Libi died Monday in a CIA-led drone strike in Pakistan. The Libya born terrorist had long been the face of al Qaeda and served as a top strategist before moving to second-in-command last year following the death of longtime leader Osama bin Laden.
Officials say the strike targeted an al Qaeda hideout in the tribal area of North Waziristan. At least six missiles struck the compound. In addition to al-Libi, four other militants were killed. Pakistani intelligence officials have refused to confirm al-Libi’s death, saying the five bodies were burned too badly to be immediately identified.
A US official told CNN al-Libi’s death is a hard blow to al Qaeda because the terror network “will hard-pressed to find any one person who can readily step into” his role.
The State Department was offering $1 million for information leading to al-Libi’s capture or killing. "Al-Libi is a key motivator in the global jihadi movement and his messages convey a clear threat to U.S. persons or property worldwide," said a statement on the department’s "Rewards for Justice" website.
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