Update 1:35 p.m.: Several news outlets confirmed with U.S. officials Tuesday that Abu Yahya al-Libi was killed in a drone strike, so yes, it's a tough gig being al-Qaeda's number two.
Original: Pakistani officials announced today that they have evidence that a U.S. drone strike might have killed Abu Yahya al-Libi, al-Qaeda's most recent second in command, apparently just one week after the previous No. 2 was killed. So we aren't quite sure how the corporate ladder of al-Qaeda works (other than that they hire from within) or what perks come with the promotion to the deputy (a title they slap on anyone for doing a good job? a bump in pay? keys to the executive washroom?) but the U.S. is highly efficient at taking them down. An American drone dispatched the terrorist organization's former second in command, Sakhr al-Taifi, last week. Abu Yahya al-Libi, according to the AP, seems to be this week's number two, and Pakistani officials claim he was in a house "hit by a U.S. drone strike in the country's northwest tribal region" yesterday. U.S. officials who weren't allowed to talk about the strike but did anyway under anonymity told the AP they were "optimistic" that the drone attack took him down. And here's some context: The Washington Post's Joby Warrick and Haq Nawaz Khan add that al-Libi's death would be the biggest since Osama bin Laden's, and Fox News adds that he's an al-Qaeda YouTube superstar. Obviously we have no word yet on his replacement, but come back next week and perhaps we'll both find out.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.