In another significant blow to Al Qaeda's top leadership, a senior United States official said on Thursday that the terrorist outfit's chief of operations in Pakistan Abu Hafs al-Shahri has been killed in the country's northwest tribal region.
The official, who did not want to be named, said Thursday that Shahri was killed earlier this week, but did not give details.
"It has been confirmed that Al Qaeda's chief of Pakistan operations, Abu Hafs al-Shahri, was killed earlier this week in Waziristan, Pakistan," a senior US administration official said on condition of anonymity.
"Abu Hafs' death will further degrade Al Qaeda's ability to recover from the death last month of AQ's number two, Atiyah, because of his operations experience and connections within the group," the official said.
"Abu Hafs' death removes a key threat inside Pakistan, where he collaborated closely with Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan to conduct coordinated attacks," the official said.
Al Qaeda's number 2 Atiyah abd al-Rahman was also killed last month in Pakistan amid stepped up US drone strikes after the killing of Osama bin Laden on May 2.
The death of Abu Hafs in a Pakistani tribal district follows the killing of Al Qaeda's number two Atiyah abd al-Rahman last month, and comes amid stepped up US drone strikes following the killing of Osama bin Laden in May.
Another senior al Qaeda leader, Younis al Mauretani, was recently captured in Pakistan's tribal areas in a joint operation staged by US and Pakistani security forces.
Image: A TV grab of bu Hafs al-Shahri