From Bill Roggio at Long War Journal breaking tonight:
Al Qaeda has announced that its top leader in Afghanistan and chief financial official was killed in a US airstrike in Pakistan ten days ago.
Mustafa Abu Yazid, who is also known as Sheikh Saeed al Masri, was killed in the May 21 Predator strike in the village of Mohammed Khel in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan. Datta Khel is a known al Qaeda hub in North Waziristan.
As Sahab, al Qaeda’s propaganda arm, released a statement announcing Yazid’s death on Al Ansar, a jihadist forum.
Rumors of Yazid’s death was first reported by ABC News, which quoted US officials who said a eulogy for Yazid was to be released by As Sahab.
Yazid is one of al Qaeda most important leaders, and he will be difficult to replace. He served as al Qaeda’s leader in Afghanistan and what the terror group refers to as the Khorasan, a region that encompasses large areas of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Iran. The Khorasan is considered by jihadists to be the place where they will inflict the first defeat against their enemies in the Muslim version of Armageddon. The final battle is to take place in the Levant – Israel, Syria, and Lebanon.
The 9-11 Commission identified Yazid as al Qaeda’s “chief financial manager.” In this role, Yazid was responsible for disbursing al Qaeda funds from what is known as the Bayt al Mal, al Qaeda’s treasury. This responsibility made Yazid one of the most trusted and important al Qaeda leaders. Because of this responsibility, Yazid is considered by some analysts to be al Qaeda’s third in command.