Al-Qaida Says No.3 Leader Killed

Terror cell al-Qaida has suffered what could be the biggest blow to the group, as one of its top leaders was killed along with several members of his family. Al-Qaida said in its Web site on Monday that Mustafa al-Yazid, once Osama bin Laden’s top money man, was killed but did not reveal the exact date and place of his death.

News about al-Yazid’s death has been going around “extremist circles” in the past couple of weeks, U.S. official said. The statement by al-Qaida claimed that al-Yazid was killed along with his wife, three daughters, and a grandchild, among other companions.

The 55-year-old al-Yazid was involved in running al-Qaida’s daily operations, especially in the financial and planning department. He was the main link to bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Al-Yazid had been previously reported to have died back in 2008, but the news turned out to be false. A couple of Pakistani intelligence officials have corroborated al-Qaida’s claim, saying that al-Yazid was among several killed by a U.S. missile strike on May 21.

If confirmed, al-Yazid’s death would be the biggest blow to al-Qaida since it “lost both its internal and external operations chiefs,” a U.S. official said.