Al-Qaida says its third-ranking leader has been killed in Pakistan, in what would be a major blow to the terrorist network. The terrorist network announced the death of Mustafa Abu al-Yazid in a message posted on the Internet.
Pakistani officials said Tuesday that a U.S. drone missile strike killed Yazid, along with members of his family, last month in North Waziristan. A U.S. intelligence official said reports of Yazid's death were likely accurate and called his killing a "big victory" for counter-terrorism.
U.S. officials say the Egyptian-born Yazid, also known as Sheikh Saeed al-Masri, was a founding member of al-Qaida and a prime conduit to the group's leader, Osama bin Laden. Yazid ran al-Qaida's activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan, his responsibilities ranging from finances to operational planning.
He managed bank accounts based in the Middle East that were used to finance the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.
Yazid became involved in extremist movements as a young man, including the Islamic Jihad group founded by fellow Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri. He served three years in prison during the 1980s for involvement in the 1981 assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat.
Yazid had been increasingly appearing in al-Qaida's audio and video messages in recent years.
Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.