A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan on Monday targeted Al Qaeda’s top terror strategist, Abu Yahya Al-Libi. Fifteen terrorists were killed, but confirmation of Al-Libi's death could take weeks or months, officials said.
The latest drone strike – the third in three days – was in an area that Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorists frequented. Reuters reported that intelligence officials who intercepted conversations among terrorists after the drone strike indicated that Al-Libi had died .
If true, it would be a serious blow to Al Qaeda and a prize for the Obama administration. Last year, U.S. elite forces carried out a raid that killed Al Qaeda’s commander Osama bin Laden in his million dollar villa in Pakistan.
The United States has been hunting for Al-Libi for years and placed a $1 million bounty on his head. American forces previously arrested and held him until he escaped from a U.S. prison in Afghanistan nearly seven years ago.
Al-Libi is known for his YouTube lectures and videos, one of which documented his capture by Pakistanis, his being turned over to American authorities, and his escape.
He is the deputy leader of Al Qaeda, moving to the position after Ayman al-Zawahri replaced bin Laden.
Al-Libi is a native of Libya, as his name indicates, and, like many other terrorists, defies the frequently assumed image of a poor and uneducated man. He has a degree in chemistry and apparently used his knowledge in terrorist activities. Al Zawahri was educated as a doctor.