A U.S. government official says a top al Qaeda operative has been killed in a drone attack in western Pakistan and local media says that the strike killed al Qaeda's number 3 in command, Abu Yahya al-Libi, CBS's Sami Yousafzai reports.Well, he's not succeeding anyone if the reports are accurate. The online jihadi groups are also indicating that Libi was killed.
The U.S. is still not confirming the report, CBS News has learned.
Abu Yahya al-Libi is the spiritual successor to Palestinian philosopher Abu Azzam - and the inspiration for much of Bin Laden's beliefs, according to CBS News chief foreign affairs correspondent Lara Logan. He is very powerful and believed by some to be the natural successor to Bin Laden.
Bear in mind that the ISAF (the US led international force in Afghanistan had captured Libi in 2003 but managed to escape in a mass-breakout from the detention facilities at Bagram in 2005 along with along with senior al Qaeda operatives Abu Nasir al Qahtani, Abu Abdallah al Shami, and Omar Farouq.
He had been on the run ever since; of the other four al Qaeda terrorists, two were killed and a third was recaptured. There had been a $5 million bounty on his head.
It turns out that the early reports that Libi was killed were incorrect. The US has announced that senior al Qaeda terrorist Saleh al Somalia was killed. As his name implies, he was a Somali and even had his hand in the infamous Black Hawk Down incident in Somalia.
Saleh al Somalia is thought to have been killed in the strike in the town of Aspangla near the main town of Miramshah in North Waziristan. The region is controlled by the dangerous Haqqani Network,a Taliban group with close links to al Qaeda and Pakistan's military and intelligence services.The headline has also been amended to reflect the changes.
Initial reports indicated that two Arabs from Saudi Arabia were among the three people killed in the Dec. 8 attack. A follow-up report, which later turn out to be incorrect, stated that Abu Yahya al Libi, a chief al Qaeda ideologue and propagandist, was killed in yesterday's strike in South Waziristan..
"There are strong indications that senior al Qaeda operations planner Saleh al Somali has died," a senior US official told ABC News.
A senior US intelligence official contacted by The Long War Journal confirmed al Somali was the target of the strike, said he was a long time operative in al Qaeda, and was actively plotting attacks in the West.