A senior administration official tells ABC News that officials have confirmed that al Qaeda’s chief of Pakistan operations, Abu Hafs al-Shahri, was killed earlier this week in Waziristan, Pakistan.
The administration does not confirm the use of predator drones, but on Sunday, the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a drone fired two missiles at a car as it entered a compound in Mir Ali, North Waziristan, killing three militants.
“Abu Hafs’ death will further degrade al Qaeda’s ability to recover from the death last month of AQ’s number two, Atiyah, because of his operations experience and connections within the group,” the senior administration official said, referring to ‘Atiyah ‘Abd al-Rahman, the deputy leader of al Qaeda killed in August.
“Abu Hafs’ death removes a key threat inside Pakistan, where he collaborated closely with Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan to conduct coordinated attacks.”
In addition to the killing of Atiyah as well as Osama bin Laden earlier this year, Obama administration officials point to a number of attacks decimating al Qaeda’s leadership ranks “with more key leaders eliminated in rapid succession than at any time since 9/11,” the administration claims.
Administration officials also herald the recent US/Pakistani joint arrest of Younis al-Mauritani in Quetta.