Senior al-Qaeda leader killed in Pakistan

Senior al-Qaeda commander Abu Saeed al-Masri has been killed in recent clashes with Pakistani forces in a Pakistani region near the Afghan border, a security official said on Tuesday.

“He was believed to be among the top leadership of al-Qaeda,” the senior security official said on condition of anonymity.

Al-Masri, which means Egyptian, was the most senior al-Qaeda operative to have been killed in Pakistan’s tribal belt since the death of his compatriot, Abu Khabab al-Masri, an al-Qaeda chemical and biological weapons expert, last month.

Television channels identified the dead man as Mustafa Abu al-Yazid and said he was also known as Abu Saeed al-Masri.

He was killed in recent clashes in the Bajaur tribal region, a known sanctuary for al-Qaeda operatives on the Afghan border, the security official said.

Yazid, commander of al-Qaeda operations in Afghanistan, was an Egyptian who served time in jail with al-Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri after the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981.

He has been referred to as al-Qaeda’s third most senior figure, after the elimination or capture of five earlier occupants of the number three spot since 2001.

Meanwhile, a powerful bomb blast ripped through a Pakistan air force bus in the north-western city of Peshawar on Tuesday, killing at least 13 people and wounding another 15, police said.

The explosion happened as the bus passed over a bridge on the outskirts of the city.—Reuters, AFP

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