Al-Qaida has announced the death of one of its senior leaders, Mustafa al-Yazid, also known as Sheikh Sa'id al-Masri. A jihadist monitoring group reports al-Masri was killed, with members of his family, last month.
According to NPR's Julie McCarthy, on the ground in Islamabad, Sheikh al-Masri is believed to have been the target of a missile attack in Pakistan's tribal area, along the Afghan border. A Pakistani intelligence source says that a US drone killed al-Masri some ten days ago.
The Egyptian militant leader was a founding member and former financial chief of al-Qaida. Most recently, he commanded the organization's operations in Afghanistan.
"Yazid, 54, was an original member of al-Qaeda's Shura leadership council, an al-Qaeda commander for Afghanistan and served as an adviser to bin Laden for more than 15 years," The Washington Post reports. "More recently, he was the group's chief organizational manager, in charge of finances and logistics, as well as a liaison to the Taliban and other extremist groups."
His death would represent one of the most significant setbacks for al-Qaida since the CIA began using drones, piloted remotely, to attack militant targets, McCarthy says. Human rights groups condemn the program, which was accelerated under President Obama. But some analysts say the strike on al-Masri will allow the US to argue more forcefully for their effectiveness.