Photo by /AFP/Getty Images.
Al-Qaida's most recent second-in-command was killed by a U.S. drone strike on Monday that destroyed a Pakistani home where the charismatic Libyan cleric was hiding, U.S officials confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
Pakistani officials had previously confirmed that Abu Yahya al-Libi was in the house that was reduced to rubble by Monday's strike, but it had been unclear whether he was one of the estimated 12 casualties from the attack, according to the Associated Press.
Al-Libi has long been a popular leader within al-Qaida. He rose to second in command last August after the death of Atiyah abd al-Rahman. An unnamed U.S. official speaking to the Post before al-Libi's death was confirmed said that if it were to be, it "would be a major blow to 'core' al-Qaida."
The frequency of U.S. drone strikes has increased dramatically of late, with more than seven attacks carried out in the last two weeks. The strike targeting al-Libi came on the same day Pakistani officials again publicly protested the strikes, condemning them as "illegal" and in violation of the country’s sovereignty, according to Reuters. The attacks have been a point of contention between the fragile allies for months.