The deputy leader of al-Qaeda has been killed by US missiles according to the White House and Pakistani officials.
Abu Yahya al-Libi was in a hideout in North Waziristan, along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
He is the most powerful al-Qaeda figure to have been killed since Osama bin Laden’s death last year.
One US official said al-Qaeda would be hard-pressed to find anyone to take his place.
“We believe, al-Libi’s death is a major blow to core al Qaeda,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told a press briefing. “Removing the number two leader for the second time in less than a year and further damaging the group’s moral and cohesion and bringing it closer to it’s ultimate demise than ever before.”
Abu Yahya al-Libi was killed when two missiles were fired from unmanned drones. A leader of the Pakistani Taliban told the Reuters news agency that it is a big loss.
Other analysts say that although al-Qaeda still have operatives capable of causing damage, there are few, if any, who can present a coherent ideology to potential followers.