|Atiyah Abd al-Rahman|
Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, a Libyan, became #2 after bin Laden became fish food in May. There was a 1 million reward offered. Sadly, drone operators can't collect.
Another one bites the dust
(CBS/AP)Raise your hands mujahideen, who wants to become #2 now?
WASHINGTON — Al Qaeda's second-in-command, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, has been killed in Pakistan, delivering another big blow to a terrorist group that the U.S. believes to be on the verge of defeat, a senior Obama administration official said Saturday.
The Libyan national who was the network's former operational leader rose to al Qaeda's No. 2 spot after the U.S. killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden during a raid on his Pakistan compound in May.
Al-Rahman was killed Aug. 22 in the lawless Pakistani tribal region of Waziristan, according to the official, who insisted on anonymity to discuss intelligence issues.
The official would not say how al-Rahman was killed. But his death came on the same day that a CIA drone strike was reported in Waziristan. Such strikes by unmanned aircraft are Washington's weapon of choice for killing terrorists in the mountainous, hard-to-reach area along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
Al-Rahman, believed to be in his mid-30s, was a close confidant of bin Laden and once served as bin Laden's emissary to Iran.
A U.S. official told CBS News al-Rahman spoke on behalf of both Osama bin Laden and Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri, and was the one affiliates "knew and trusted."
Ayman Zawahiri Next?