WASHINGTON- (AFP) – The United States said Saturday that Al-Qaeda’s number two leader Atiyah abd al-Rahman had been killed in Pakistan, in what it said was another “tremendous blow” to the extremist group.
A senior US official said that Rahman was killed in tribal Waziristan on August 22 and had been deeply involved in directing operations for Al-Qaeda, but did not divulge the exact circumstances of his death.
Local officials in the tribal region however told AFP last week that a US drone strike on August 22 on a vehicle in North Waziristan killed at least four militants.
The senior US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the death of Rahman would be deeply felt by Al-Qaeda because the group’s new leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had relied on him since the killing of Osama bin Laden.
“The trove of materials from Bin Laden’s compound showed clearly that (Rahman) was deeply involved in directing Al-Qaeda’s operations even before the raid,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“He had multiple responsibilities in the organization and will be very difficult to replace.”