The United States claims to have killed one of al- Qaeda’s “most experienced and versatile leaders” after successfully targeting the group’s deputy head Abu Yahya al-Libi.
The terror network’s second-in-command died in an American drone attack in Pakistan’s Waziristan region, which is on the border with Afghanistan.
“His death is part of the degradation that has been taking place to core al-Qaeda during the past several years. And that degradation has depleted the ranks to such an extent that there is now no clear successor to take on the breadth of his responsibilities,” said White House Spokesman Jay Carney.
Libi is the most powerful al-Qaeda figure to have been killed since Osama bin Laden’s death last year.
The core of the terror group is now headed up by Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahri, who also lost a wife and three children in a US drone attack in late 2001.
Further straining the relationship between Islamabad and Washington, Pakistan has officially reprimanded a US diplomat for the drone strike that killed Libi, describing it as a violation of sovereignty and against international law.