Top al-Qaeda Commander Killed
Abu Laith al-Libbi was involved in terror planning and training
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 31, 2008 2:01 PM CST
In this photo released by IntelCenter, Libyan al-Qaeda commander Abu Laith al-Libi speaks during a videotaped interview on April 27, 2007. Al-Libi was killed in Afghanistan, a website used by militant...   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – 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.