Al Qaeda's central leadership says it lost Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, a founding member of the group, in a May 22 drone strike in Pakistan's tribal area.
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While Yazid’s death is being claimed as a counterterrorism victory, analysts say that Al Qaeda is quick to appoint successors to key posts.
A statement issued by al-Qaeda’s media wing announced that Mr Yazid had been killed, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist websites.
“His death will only be a severe curse by his life upon the infidels,” the statement said. “The response is near.”
US counter-terrorism officials see Mr Yazid’s apparent death as a victory, although al- Qaeda has succeeded in replacing a number of previous holders of its number-three slot killed by the CIA.
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