Senior al-Qaeda leader Abu Yahya al-Libi was killed in a drone strike in Pakistan on Monday.
US officials said Libi was the target of an attack which hit a volatile tribal area of Pakistan's north-west, killing 15 suspected militants.
There has been no confirmation of his death from sources in Pakistan. According to officials, he played a critical role in the group's planning against the West.
"There is no-one who even comes close in terms of replacing the expertise al-Qaeda has just lost," the US official told the BBC. The official added that al-Qaeda's leadership "will be hard-pressed to find any one person who can readily step into [Libi's] shoes".Washington believes that following Osama Bin Laden's death last year, Libi, an Islamic scholar from Libya, became al-Qaeda's second-in-command after Egyptian-born Ayman al-Zawahiri. Libi had gravitas as a longstanding member of al
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