WASHINGTON, Aug. 28 (UPI) — A U.S. drone killed a top-ranking al-Qaida official in Pakistan, officials say.
The drone, operated by the Central Intelligence Agency, killed Atiyah Abd al-Rahman Saturday, The New York Times reported.
“Atiyah [Abd al-Rahman] was at the top of al-Qaida’s trusted core,” an American official said. “His combination of background, experience and abilities are unique in al-Qaida — without question, they will not be easily replaced.”
Rahman is a Libyan who took command as al-Qaida’s top operational planner last year. The leader was frequently in contact with Osama bin Laden in the month before bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan May 2.
Files found at Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, show bin Laden relied on Rahman to get out messages to other al-Qaida officials.
The United States has been using the unmanned military aircraft to hunt down al-Qaida members in Pakistan, causing tension with the government in Islamabad.