Al-Qaida official ‘killed with family’

2010-06-01 08:10

Al-Qaida announced yesterday that its number three 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 US campaign against

al-Qaida began.

A US official said al-Yazid was believed to have died in a US

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 US 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 US 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.

Al-Yazid has been one of many targets in a US Predator drone

campaign aimed at militants in Pakistan since President Barack Obama took

office.

Al-Yazid made no secret of his contempt for the United States, once

calling it “the evil empire leading crusades against the Muslims.”

“We have reached the point where we see no difference between the

state and the American people,” al-Yazid told Pakistan’s Geo TV in a June 2008

interview.

“The United States is a non-Muslim state bent on the destruction of

Muslims.”

The shadowy, 55-year-old al-Yazid has been involved with Islamic

extremist movements for about 30 years since he joined radical student groups

led by fellow Egyptian al-Zawahri, now the number two figure in al-Qaida after

bin Laden.


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