Al Qaeda's second in command killed during drone strike on house in Pakistan's tribal region
Abu Zaid al-Kuwaiti killed in Pakistan's tribal region of North WaziristanHe was presented as a religious scholar for militant Islamic groupHis wife died and daughter was wounded as a result of the drone attack
21:55 GMT, 9 December 2012
A U.S. drone strike has killed a senior al Qaeda leader described as the second in command of the terrorist organisation.
Sheik Khalid bin Abdel Rehman al-Hussainan, who was also known as Abu Zaid al-Kuwaiti, was killed when missiles slammed into a house in Pakistan’s tribal region of North Waziristan, near the Afghan border.
Al-Kuwaiti appeared in many videos released by Al Qaeda, and was presented as a religious scholar for the militant Islamic group.
Death from above: The second in command of Al Qaeda, Abu Zaid al-Kuwaiti, was killed in a drone strike
He had formally replaced Abu Yahya al-Libi, Al Qaeda’s second in command, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan in June.
Al-Kuwaiti appeared to be a less prominent figure than al-Libi, and less of a military commander. His role was more as a scholar developing the group’s ideology and training jihadists.
But his death leaves a large hole at the top of the organisation, which has been headed by Ayman al-Zawahiri since the assassination of Osama bin Laden by US special forces last year.
Covert CIA drone strikes have killed a series of senior Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders in Pakistan’s tribal region over the past few years. But the attacks are controversial because the secret nature of the program makes it difficult to determine how many civilians are being killed.
The second-in-command died when missiles hit his house in the region of North Waziristan near the Afghan border (pictured)
Pakistani officials often criticize
the strikes as a violation of the country’s sovereignty, which has
helped make them extremely unpopular in the country. But senior
Pakistani officials are also known to have cooperated with strikes in
and daughter were wounded in Thursday’s drone attack, according to
Pakistani intelligence officials. His wife died a day later at a
Al-Kuwaiti was buried in Tappi village in North Waziristan on Friday, the officials said.
A Pakistani Taliban commander in the area told the Associated Press that local fighters were ‘very aggrieved’ and that they had lost a ‘big leader’.
Many analysts believe the biggest threat now comes from Al Qaeda franchises in places like Yemen and Somalia rather than the traditional base of Afghanistan and Pakistan.