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Al-Qaida: No. 3 official killed

 

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Al-Qaida announced Monday that its No.

3 official, Mustafa al-Yazid, had been killed along with members of his family — perhaps one of the most severe blows to the terror movement since the U.S. campaign against al-Qaida began. A U.S. official said al- Yazid was believed to have died in a U.S. missile strike.

A statement posted on an al- Qaida Website said al-Yazid, which it described as the organization's top commander in Afghanistan, was killed along with his wife, three daughters, a grandchild and other men, women and children but did not say how or where.

The statement did not give an exact date for al-Yazid's death, but it was dated by the Islamic calendar month of "Jemadi al-Akhar," which falls in May.

A U.S. official in Washington said word was "spreading in extremist circles" of his death in Pakistan's tribal areas in the past two weeks.

His death would be a major blow to al-Qaida, which in December "lost both its internal and external operations chiefs," the official said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.

The Egyptian-born al-Yazid, also known as Sheik Saeed al- Masri, was a founding member of al-Qaida and the group's prime conduit to Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri.

He was key to day-to-day control, with a hand in everything from finances to operational planning, the U.S. official said.

Al-Yazid has been reported killed before, in 2008, but this is the first time his death has been acknowledged by the militant group on the Internet.

Two Pakistani intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media, said al-Yazid died in a

U. S. missile strike on May 21 in the North Waziristan tribal area.

Soon after the attack, officials reported that two foreigners were among the 10 people killed, but did know their identities.

Five women and two children were also wounded in the attack, which occurred in the village of Boya near the main town in the area, Miran Shah.

 

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