Abu Yahya Al-Libi Bites The Dust
Al Qaeda’s deputy leader, Abu Yahya al-Libi, was killed in a drone strike in northern Pakistan, an American official confirmed on Tuesday, in the biggest single success in the controversial campaign’s eight-year history in the country.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, described Mr. Libi as one of Al Qaeda’s “most experienced and versatile leaders,” and said he had “played a critical role in the group’s planning against the West, providing oversight of the external operations efforts.”The official did not give details about how Mr. Libi’s death had been confirmed. In past drone strikes against militant leaders, American intelligence officials have monitored cellphone and text and Internet messages to confirm the effects of the missions.The drone strike occurred on Monday in a small village outside Mir Ali, a major hub of Pakistani and international militancy in North Waziristan. At the time, American officials announced that Mr. Libi had been the strike’s target, but could not confirm his condition. Pakistanis living in the area of the strike reported that he had been either killed or seriously wounded, and that 15 other people had been killed.Mr. Libi, who was believed to be in his late 40s, moved up to become Al Qaeda’s deputy, behind Ayman al-Zawahri, after an American commando raid killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan in May 2011. He already had a high profile in the militant world: he escaped the American prison at Bagram, Afghanistan, in 2005, and went on to make a series of videos that established him as a leading voice calling for attacks on the United States — and as a charismatic focal point for a terrorist group that was widely seen as being in decline.