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February 1, 2008
Top Al-Qaeda Official Killed
Abu Laith al-Libi, a senior al-Qaeda commander, was killed by a US missile strike targeting him specifically on Wednesday:
In a eulogy, it said he was "martyred with a group of his brothers in the land of Muslim Pakistan" and lauded his skills as a battlefield commander and a trainer of other fighters. Libi can be replaced fairly easily so the hit does not damage al-Qaeda in a tactical way. But by any measure it is a blow strategically to the terrorists. This guy was competent, popular, and was well thought of by the men.
"He was an artist in what he did," the statement said, according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group, a private organization that researches terrorism.
Libi is the first major al-Qaeda leader known to have been killed or captured in Pakistan in more than two years. In December 2005, a senior operational planner, Abu Hamza Rabia, was killed in a Predator attack in North Waziristan, not far from where Libi is believed to have died.
Another senior al-Qaeda commander, Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, was captured in late 2006 in Turkey after departing Pakistan in an attempt to reach Iraq. He was held for several months in a secret CIA prison overseas before his transfer to the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in April 2007
I have a feeling we'd find a few more top level terrorists in that part of Waziristan if we ever got the opportunity to look.