[Updated at 1:27 p.m. ET] Abu Yahya al-Libi, the second most senior leader of al Qaeda, has been killed by a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan, a U.S. official said Tuesday.
His death marks one of the most significant blows to al Qaeda since the U.S. military killed Osama bin Laden in a daring nighttime raid in Pakistan a year ago. Al-Libi was second-in-command behind al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who took the helm after bin Laden's death.
The drone fired at least six missiles at a militant compound near the town of Mir Ali in the North Waziristan region near the Afghanistan border. The attack left 15 militants dead and three others wounded, a U.S. official said earlier Tuesday.
Al Qaeda will have a hard time replacing al Libi, according to the U.S. official who said al Libi was dead. "There is no one who even comes close in terms of replacing the expertise (al Qaeda) has just lost," said the U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
[Initial post, 8:04 a.m. ET] Abu Yahya al-Libi, the No. 2 man in al Qaeda and a longtime public face of the terror network, has been targeted by a drone strike in Pakistan's tribal region, a U.S. official said Tuesday.
Investigators are trying to determine whether al-Libi was injured or killed in the Monday hit, which left 15 militants dead and three others wounded, the official said. Intelligence officials may find out al-Libi's fate only from monitoring websites and chatter, according to the official.
A senior Pakistani official said investigators have to verify that al-Libi was among the dead. Eight of the victims from the strike were "foreigners," with most of them Arabs, the Pakistani official said.
The drone fired at least six missiles at a militant compound near the town of Mir Ali in the North Waziristan region near the Afghanistan border.
It was the third such deadly attack in as many days and the 21st suspected U.S. drone strike in Pakistan this year in the fight against al Qaeda.FULL STORY