Al-Qaeda third-in-command 'killed'

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The third-in-command of al-Qaeda is believed to have been killed last month by a US missile strike in Pakistan.

Sheikh Sa'id al-Masri, also known as Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, was reportedly killed with members of his family in a strike by a pilotless CIA-operated drone attack. Al-Qaeda confirmed his death in a statement released on Monday.

Al-Masri had a wide-ranging role within the ranks of al-Qaeda, from operations to fundraising.

A US official said: "We have strong reason to believe...that al-Masri was killed recently in Pakistan's tribal areas. In terms of counter-terrorism this would be a big victory."

A Pakistan security official said Yazid was probably killed in a missile strike north of Waziristan on the night of May 21. The official said: "We had a report at the time that one Arab was killed in that strike with some of his family members and I think it was probably him."

The attack targeted a house owned by a tribesman 15 miles west of Miranshah in North Waziristan - a stronghold of al-Qaeda and the Taliban militants over the border in Afghanistan.

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