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    Al Qaeda commander reported killed in Pakistan

    KABUL (PAN): Al Qaeda’s second-ranking operative was killed in a US drone attack in North Waziristan, a tribal region of Pakistan near Afghan border, US officials said.

     The drone strike was carried out on Aug. 22, 2011 in the Mir Ali area of North Waziristan, killing five fighters. Local officials said that the victims were fighters of local Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadar.

    A US official told media outlets on condition of anonymity that Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, a Libyan who took over as al Qaeda's top operational planner last year, was killed in the drone attack. Rahman was in frequent contact with Osama bin Laden in the months before he was killed on May 22, 2011 by US Special Forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the official said.

    After bin Laden was killed, Rahman became al Qaeda's second in command after Ayman al-Zawahiri, who succeeded bin Laden at the head of the organization.

    After the death, some intelligence officials predicted that some Libyans would assume more leadership roles in al Qaeda. The organization has at times experienced friction among operatives of different nationalities.

    The slain commander was on the US list of top five most wanted people in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    US officials said that Rahman had joined bin Laden’s network in the 1980s and earned fame for his skill with explosives.

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