Reuters reports, on the authority of a Pakistani security official, that an “Abu Saeed al-Masri” was killed.  The official said Masri is “among the top leadership of al Qaeda.”  The identity of Masri is unknown, but the news media is claiming that it’s Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, a close Egyptian friend of Zawahiri’s from the Sadat assassination days (Long War and CT Blog have good summaries of the news).

If true, it is horrible news for al-Qaeda.  Abu al-Yazid is the head of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and one of the few public faces of the organization (he sometimes gets the job of announcing the death of AQ operatives killed in Afghanistan).  Moreover, it comes after a string of successful strikes on high-profile al-Qaeda leaders this year: Abu Layth al-Libi, Abu Sulayman al-Jaza’iri, and Abu Khabab.  Of course, there are other capable leaders waiting in the wings, but don’t underestimate the damage these deaths cause.  It is sending AQ Central back to 2003.

To get a spatial and chronological sense of what is happening, I’ve put together a map of the 2008 killings based on Bill Roggio’s nice summary of the information.  The marks for al-Jaza’iri and Abu Khabab are accurate since we know where they died; for Libi and Abu al-Yazid (if dead), all we know is the province.

  1. Jallen says:

    How are the guys in the forums taking the news?

    I am usually skeptical of reporting from unnamed Pakistani security force members, which is where the news of Yazid came from originally.

    Nice map.

  2. Gregory says:

    Anybody else having problems with al-Ikhlas?

  3. Will says:

    Gregory – Ekhlaas is definitely down. Members of the smaller forums are asking for better links, but none have been forthcoming.

  4. Will says:

    Jallen – I haven’t seen much discussion of the Abu al-Yazid news on the forums and I checked quite a few today.

  5. ehunter says:

    Most impressive website!
    What has struck me is how many successful airstrikes
    there have been in rapid succession. Somewhere, somehow Al Queda has been fully compromised. Thank God for that. One thing I was wondering…does anyone think the recent outing of ISI as a confirmed Al Queda
    sheltering organization have anything to do with these
    targets all of a sudden being revealed and targetted without them being tipped off first??

  6. I’m going to have to go to Google Earth to find out more about these places.

  7. khaba babu says:

    what kind of teaching to kill man, speacialy I want to ask it some muslim leader? there is no human where man kills man,most of world ruling like jungle low (wild beast) that strongers eat weakers. mans are making wild kingdom to the world.

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