A top al-Qaeda operative in Afghanistan has been killed, CNN is reporting, based on information from an Islamist web site and Western officials. Abu Laith al-Libbi, a veteran jihadist of Libyan descent, is described as the No. 3 al-Qaeda leader, "not far below the importance of the top two al-Qaeda leaders," Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The death was reported by a web site used by militant groups; it was confirmed by Western officials, who declined to discuss how he was killed, the BBC reports. The AP calls al-Libbi a key link between al-Qaeda and the Taliban; he was blamed by the US for a 2007 bombing that killed 23 people at a military base in Afghanistan during a visit by Vice President Dick Cheney.