Al-Qaeda’s deputy leader Abu Yahya al-Libi was dead, according to a White House official on Tuesday, but he did not confirm how or where he had been killed.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the U.S. intelligence community had information that “leads them to believe” that al-Libi was killed. It appears that al-Libi was among the 15 people killed on Monday in a twin drone attack before dawn in the Khaisu area of Mir Ali, the main town of North Waziristan.
Various media reports including the New York Times quoted unnamed U.S. officials as saying al-Libi had died in Monday’s strikes.Al-Libi was al-Qaeda’s “general manager” overseeing operations in Pakistan and outreach to regional affiliates, Mr. Carney said, and his death was “part of the degradation” of al-Qaeda in recent years.
Mr. Carney said that Al-Libi’s death put “additional pressure” on the man, who succeeded the late Osama bin Laden as al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, whom the U.S. believes is also in Pakistan.“
This would be a major blow, we believe ... to core al-Qaeda, removing the number two leader, for the second time in less than a year, and further damaging the group’s morale and cohesion and bringing it closer to its ultimate demise than ever before,” Mr. Carney said.
At the Pentagon, spokesman Navy Captain John Kerby called al-Libi a “dangerous individual” and said it was good to “have him no longer walking the Earth.”