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Death of deputy chief deals heavy blow to al-Qaida

[ 2011-08-29 10:15]     字号 [] [] []  
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The killing of al-Qaida's number two leader deprives the group of a multi-talented manager who helped it spawn offshoots around the world and survive a US counter-terrorism campaign in Pakistan, security analysts say.

US officials said on Saturday that Atiyah abd al-Rahman, a Libyan, was killed in Pakistan. One official said he was killed in a strike by an unmanned drone on Aug 22.

The killing is likely to be particularly highly prized by Washington as US strategists would have been concerned about Rahman's potential influence in Libya's turmoil following the overthrow of Muammar Gadhafi, analysts say.

Rahman, in his 40s and from the coastal Libyan town of Misrata, built a reputation in al-Qaida as a thinker, organizer and trusted emissary of the Pakistan-based central leadership to its offshoots.

In particular he played a key role in managing ties between the core leadership and al-Qaida in Iraq and helped negotiate the formation in 2007 of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) with a group of Algerian Islamist guerrillas.

He was also one of the first al-Qaida leaders to provide a response to the uprisings in the Arab world, urging the group's supporters to cooperate with the revolts even if the rebellions were not Islamist-inspired.

"It's immensely important that he's been killed," said Anna Murison, who monitors Islamist violence for Exclusive Analysis, a London-based risk consultancy.

She said he was widely trusted throughout the organization and Islamists from very varied backgrounds listened to him.

"Al-Qaida as an idea will live on, but al-Qaida core as an organization looks pretty much finished as there are so few people who can now move up into those senior ranks," she said.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Death of deputy chief deals heavy blow to al-Qaida

About the broadcaster:

Death of deputy chief deals heavy blow to al-Qaida

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.