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Drone strike killed Al Qaeda leader Mustafa Abu al-Yazid

Al Qaeda’s central leadership says it lost Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, a co-founder of the terror network, in a May 22 drone strike in Pakistan’s tribal area. He was a top financial chief for Al Qaeda and was considered by American intelligence officials to be the organization’s Number 3 leader, behind Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri.

Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, who was also known as Sheik Sa’id al-Masri, the third highest ranking al-Qaeda commander, the outfit’s banker, and the man who threatened India with more Mumbai-style attacks, was killed in an American missile strike in Pakistan’s tribal areas in the last two weeks, according to a statement the group issued late Monday that US intelligence agencies believe is correct.

“His death will only be a severe curse by his life upon the infidels,” Al Qaeda said in a statement issued to jihadist Web sites and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors statements by jihadists. He was erroneously reported dead by Pakistani officials after a drone strike in August 2008. But this time US officials are expressing greater confidence, citing chatter on Islamist networks and acknowledgment of his death on an al-Qaida website.

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