Al Qaeda loses another number 3 leader

NY Times:

The operational leader of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan was killed in an American missile strike in Pakistan’s tribal areas in the last two weeks, according to a statement from the terrorist group issued late Monday that American officials believe is correct.

The militant leader, Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, an Egyptian, was a top financial chief for Al Qaeda as well as one of the group’s founders, and was considered by American intelligence officials as terrorist organization’s No. 3 leader behind Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, another Egyptian.

“His death will only be a severe curse by his life upon the infidels,” Al Qaeda said in a statement issued to jihadist Web Sites, which was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors statements by jihadists.

A United States official said late Monday that American intelligence analysts believed the statement from Al Qaeda was accurate. They said the death of Mr. Yazid marked a significant setback to Al Qaeda’s ability to help plan and support cross border attacks against American and allied forces in Afghanistan from its safe haven in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

“In terms of counterterrorism, this would be a big victory,” said the American official, who was not authorized to speak publicly. “Al-Masri was the group’s chief operating officer, with a hand in everything from finances to operational planning. He was also the organization’s prime conduit to Bin Ladin and Zawahri. He was key to al-Qaeda’s command and control.”

“His death would be a major blow to al-Qaeda, which in December lost both its internal and external operations chiefs,” the American official said. “Though these terrorists remain extremely dangerous and determined to strike at the United States, the removal from the battlefield of top leaders like al-Masri is further proof that the tribal areas are not quite the safe haven al-Qaeda and its allies thought them to be.”

...


Bill Roggio has more on the terrorist leader.

Yazid is one of al Qaeda's most important leaders, and he will be difficult to replace. He served as al Qaeda's leader in Afghanistan and what the terror group refers to as the Khorasan, a region that encompasses large areas of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Iran. The Khorasan is considered by jihadists to be the place where they will inflict the first defeat against their enemies in the Muslim version of Armageddon. The final battle is to take place in the Levant - Israel, Syria, and Lebanon.
There is much more. He was very close to Zawahiri and was actually in jail with him before they joined forces with al Qaeda.

The most dangerous position in al Qaeda is the number three man. There have been several of them killed or captured since 9-11. This guy is just the latest. The al Qaeda bench has to be getting thin at this point.

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