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Killing of Al Qaeda's No. 2 a hammer blow to weakening group [VIDEO]

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Screen Capture/Reuters/File

(Read caption) Al Qaeda's leader Ayman al-Zawahri speaks from an unknown location in this file photo. Al-Zawahri may have a hard time retaining power now that Al Qaeda's second in command, Atiyah Abdul Rahman, has been reported killed.

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A Central Intelligence Agency-operated drone has killed Al Qaeda’s No. 2 commander in a strike in Pakistan, according to reports.

The loss of Atiyah Abdul Rahman severely damages the Islamic terror organization’s central leadership, which many US officials say is now on the verge of defeat. Still, other officials say that in the short term the death of Rahman will not dramatically affect Al Qaeda cells spread out around the world.

Although Al Qaeda is structured so any of its members can be easily replaced, terrorism experts say that Mr. Rahman represented a unique asset to the organization and it is unlikely that a successor will share his qualifications and abilities.

Without him, Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahiri is likely to struggle to keep control of the organization, reports the Los Angles Times.

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