By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 6, 2012 – The U.S. government has confirmed the death of Abu Yahya al-Libi, the second in command of al-Qaida, a senior White House spokesman said yesterday.
“I can tell you that our intelligence community has intelligence that leads them to believe that al-Qaida's No. 2 leader, al-Libi, is dead,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
Carney didn’t provide details on how or where al-Libi was killed but he said the deceased terrorist had “served as al-Qaida's general manager” overseeing the group's day-to-day operations in the tribal areas of Pakistan and managing regional outreach.
“I can simply say that he was the No. 2 leader in al-Qaida, and this is the second time in less than a year that the No. 2 leader of al-Qaida has been removed from the battlefield,” he said.
Al-Libi was deputy to Ayman al-Zawahiri, who assumed leadership of the terrorist network after Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, was killed during an assault by U.S. Navy SEALs on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May of last year.
“[Al-Libi’s] death is part of the degradation that has been taking place to core al-Qaida during the past several years,” Carney said. “[This] degradation has depleted the ranks to such an extent that there is now no clear successor to take on the breadth of his responsibilities.”
Carney noted the loss of al-Libi adds pressure to al-Zawahiri to effectively manage the group. “We believe al-Libi's death is a major blow to core al-Qaida, removing the No. 2 leader for the second time in less than a year and further damaging the group's morale and cohesion, and bringing it closer to its ultimate demise than ever before,” he said.
Carney added that al-Libi’s death represents another serious blow to al-Qaida in the wake of the demise of bin Laden, in what is an ongoing effort to disrupt, dismantle and defeat a foe that brought terror and death to the United States on 9/11, and has perpetrated acts of terrorism against innocent civilians around the globe.