A CIA drone strike killed al-Qaeda's new second-in-command in a Pakistani tribal region on Monday, a US official says. The New York Times reports that Atiyah Adb al-Rahman, a Lybian national, became al-Qaeda's top operational planner this year and was part of a new generation of leaders poised to take over after bin Laden's death in May. "Atiyah was at the top of Al Qaeda’s trusted core," said the American official.
Electronic files found at bin Laden's Pakistan compound showed that bin Laden kept in close contact with al-Rahman and used him to convey messages to al-Qaeda leaders and the wider world. The Telegraph reports that al-Rahman served as bin Laden's Iran emissary, and moved unscathed in and out of Iran from his long-time base in Waziristan. The killing of al-Rahman follows Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's remark last month that the US could defeat a weakened al-Qaeda by mounting more attacks on its leadership.