Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, the second in command of al-Qaeda, was killed by a tribe in Afghanistan, according to a senior official from the White House.
Al-Rahman’s death comes only months after the now famous raid on Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad, Pakistan compound led U.S. officials to information surrounding al-Rahman’s role as director of operations within the ranks of al-Qaeda.
A report from Fox News says that a U.S. Drone was present in Waziristan, the place where al-Rahman was said to have been killed, at the time of his death.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was optimistic about a possible defeat of al-Qaeda if the U.S. could continue to weaken the terrorist organization’s leadership.
“Now is the moment, following what happened with bin Laden, to put maximum pressure on them,” Panetta said, “because I do believe that if we continue this effort we can really cripple al-Qaida as a major threat.”
Very little was known about al-Rahman, save that he was in his late 30s, and was very close to Osama bin Laden, frequently traveling to and from Iran on al-Qaeda business.