A U.S. government official has confirmed that al-Qaida commander Abu Yahya al-Libi was killed in a military drone strike in a tribal area of Pakistan on Monday.
The U.S. official emphasized Libi's importance to the terror group.
There is no-one who even comes close in terms of replacing the expertise al-Qaida has just lost, he told the BBC, adding that al-Qaida's leadership will be hard-pressed to find any one person who can readily step into [Libi's] shoes.
Libi, an Islamic scholar from Libya, was believed to be al-Qaida's second-in-command, after the leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who took over following the assassination of Osama bin Laden in May 2011.
The drone strike also killed 15 other suspected militants, according to BBC.
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However, Pakistan, which expressed its anger over the drone strike mission, has not officially confirmed the deaths.