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Senior al Qaeda chief reported dead

Latest update : 2008-01-31

A Web site often used by al Qaeda claims that one of their members in Afghanistan, Abu Laith al-Libi, has been killed. He is thought to be the 3rd highest ranking al Qaeda member, with close ties to Osama bin Laden.

A senior al Qaeda leader believed to be based in the border tribal areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been killed, according to a jihadist Web site frequently used by al Qaeda.

 

The news, which was first posted on the site, Ekhlaas.org, announced that Abu Laith al-Libi had died “as a martyr".

 
The news of al-Libi’s death was corroborated by a senior US defense official, according to the Reuters news service.
 
"The Jihadist web sites appear to be correct," the official told Reuters. Asked specifically if Libi was killed, the official said yes.
 
Most security experts believe al-Libi’s death represents a significant setback for al Qaeda. “The death of Abu Laith al-Libi is a significant blow to al Qaeda,” said Ben Venzke, head of IntelCenter, a US-based group that monitors and analyzes militant online messages in an email to FRANCE 24. “However, this is tempered by the reality that al Qaeda has contingency plans for events such as these and will undoubtedly continue on with the activities he was involved with. This does not diminish the value of this as a great success.”
 
Well-known on Islamist sites
 
Al-Libi was a well-known figure on jihadist web sites. On April 27, 2007, he was interviewed by as-Sahab, al Qaeda’s leading media wing. The video was posted on the Web and widely distributed in Islamist circles.
 
In Nov. 2007, al-Libi, a Libyan national, issued an audio statement, which was used in a video introduced by al Qaeda second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri. The video formally announced the merger of Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) - an Afghanistan-based group headed by al-Libi - with al Qaeda.
 
It was not immediately clear if Libi's death was linked to a suspected U.S. missile strike that killed up to 13 foreign militants in Pakistan's North Waziristan region this week.

Date created : 2008-01-31

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