Al-Qaeda No.3 'Killed by Drone'

US: Mustafa al-Yazid's death will be a crushing blow to militants
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 31, 2010 10:52 PM CDT
Updated Jun 1, 2010 7:41 AM CDT
This image released by the Site Intelligence Group made from undated video shows Sheikh Sa'id al-Masri, also known as Mustafa al-Yazid.    (AP Photo/Site Intelligence Group)
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(Newser) – Al-Qaeda's operational chief has been killed by a US Predator drone strike in Pakistan, according to reports from the militant group that American officials believe are correct. Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, an Egyptian, was a founding member of al-Qaeda and is believed to have been the militant group's third-in-command behind Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, the New York Times reports.

"In terms of counterterrorism, this would be a big victory,” a US official says. The sheikh "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 Laden and Zawahri. He was key to al-Qaeda’s command and control.” Al-Yazid has surfaced alive and well after previous reports of his death, but this is the first time al-Qaeda has acknowledged his death.

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