“Officials: CIA missile strike kills al-Qaida No. 3,” from NBC News, :
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – The operational commander of al-Qaida and possibly the No. 3 official in the terrorist organization, Hamza Rabia, was killed early Thursday morning by a CIA missile attack on a safehouse in Pakistan, officials told NBC News.
Pakistan’s president later confirmed the militant leader’s death.
“Yes indeed, 200 percent. I think he was killed the day before yesterday if I”m not wrong,” President Pervez Musharraf told reporters as he arrived in Kuwait on an official visit on Saturday….
The U.S. government confirmed that a missile attack took place, but would not confirm that Rabia was killed….
Rabia has been sought by both U.S. and Pakistani officials for more than two years. Pakistan has offered a $1 million reward for his capture. He is believed to have participated in the planning for two assassination attempts against Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf on Dec. 14 and Dec. 25, 2003. At that time, Rabia was believed to be the chief deputy to Abu Faraj al-Libbi, al-Qaida’s operational chief and the No. 3 man in the organization. In May, Pakistani security forces captured Abu Faraj and turned him over to the United States.
U.S. officials have said that Rabia succeeded Abu Faraj as operations chief. Rabia was brought into al-Qaida by Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s No. 2. Like al-Zawahiri, Rabia is an Egyptian. U.S. officials have described him recently as “top-five al-Qaida” and, as one US official said on Friday, “killing him would be indeed a very big deal.”