Al-Qaeda number three killed in drone strike?

Mustafa Abu al-Yazid AKA Saeed al-Masri, operational leader for al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, was apparently killed in a US drone strike at the village of Boya near Miranshah, North Waziristan, in Pakistan‘s tribal areas. A Qaeda statement, viewed as accurate by US officials, says the death was within the last two weeks. Al-Yazid, an Egyptian, was a founder of al-Qaeda and considered by US intelligence to be the organization’s No. 3 leader, behind Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. Yazid is thought to have inherited the number three post after his predecessor, Abu Ubaidah al-Masri, died of hepatitis in Pakistan. “His death will only be a severe curse…upon the infidels,” al-Qaeda supposedly said in a statement issued to jihadist websites and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group. (The Independent, June 1; NYT, May 31)

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