​Top Al-Qaida No. 3 Dead

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June 2, 2010

Al-Qaida confirms death of No. 3. Mustafa al-Yazid was No. 3 in the Al-Qaida high ranking members group and was killed in a Pakistan drone attack. Al-Yazid became the face of the group last August, when he starred in many of its propaganda videos and eulogized fallen comrades.

“This time it sounds like intelligence officials have higher confidence that he’s actually been killed,” Matthew Waxman, a National Security Council official, said in a statement. “One thing we’ve seen since 9/11 is al-Qaida decentralizing even further into a looser structure of franchise operations all over the world, and that makes it very difficult to assess the impact of a strike like this,” he said. “I think we use the term ‘No. 3 in al-Qaida’ pretty broadly,” he says. “I think it is often used as a label for any leadership figure who has a pretty substantial role in operational planning.”

Al-Yazid was named the No. 3 by U.S. officials after he was made operational commander in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He decided on attacks and strategy while Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri stayed behind the scenes. American intelligence officials say there are about 50 members of the terrorist group’s core leadership who are still alive. Very few of these members have a long, personal history with bin Laden and Zawahiri.

He was an Egyptian, who acted as the financial chief for al-Qaed. Along with Abu Hafs al-Mauritani and Saif al-Adl, al-Masri was believed to have opposed the September 11 attacks two months prior to their execution. The high ranking member was born December 17, 1955 and died on May 21, 2010, at the age of 54.

Filed under: World News – Al-Qaida No. 3