1 Jun 2010

Death of al Qaeda's top man in Afghanistan

8:59 pm on 1 June 2010

Al Qaeda has announced the death of its top leader in Afghanistan. Sources say he may have been killed in an American drone strike.

Mustafa Abu al Yazid, an Egyptian national also known as Sheikh Sa'id al-Masri, is a founder member of al Qaeda and a former treasurer to Osama bin Laden who became the network's Afghanistan chief three years ago.

Al Qaeda says his wife and three of his children died along with him.

Mustafa Abu al Yazid - widely regarded as al Qaeda's No 3 - was on the list of individuals, organisations and charities whose assets were frozen by the US Treasury after the 11 September attacks, AFP reports.

According to the FBI, it was he who transferred funds via Dubai for Mohammed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi and Wal al-Shehri, three of the hijackers who flew aircraft into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

In Washington, a US official said that, if the reports of the death are true, "In terms of counterterrorism, this would be a big victory."