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US: Al Qaida Number 3 may be dead

US officials believe al Qaida's No 3, Sheikh Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, is dead, killed by a US Predator drone strike in Pakistan's tribal areas within the past two weeks.

Al-Yazid is also known as Sheik Said and Abu Saeed al-Masri.

A US official said that word of the al Qaida operative's death is spreading in extremist circles, and that US officials have "strong reason" to believe it's true.

Al-Yazid was the group's prime conduit to Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, and he was key to day-to-day control, with a hand in everything from finances to operational planning.

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