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U.S. drone kills al-Qaida leader

Published By United Press International
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- The senior al-Qaida leader known as Abu-Zaid al-Kuwaiti was killed by a U.S. drone strike Friday as he ate breakfast in Pakistan, an Islamist Website said.

U.S. officials confirmed the news, NBC News reported. Experts said Sheik Khalid Bin Abdul Rehman Al-Hussainan was one of the top remaining leaders of al-Qaida following the death of Osama bin Laden and a possible successor to Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden's deputy and successor.

"We celebrate to you the news of the martyrdom of the working scholar Shaykh Khalid al-Hussainan (Abu Zaid al-Kuwaiti) while eating his Suhoor (dawn) meal, and we ask Allah to accept him in paradise," the first announcement on an Internet forum said.

Hussainan was the highest-ranking al-Qaida official to be killed by the United States since Anwar al-Awlaki in September 2011. Awlaki, a U.S. citizen, died in a drone strike in Yemen.

Evan Kohlmann, an NBC News analyst and consultant to the Justice Department, said al-Qaida now has a "big gap in the leadership."

"He was the last senior al-Qaida leader in the Afghanistan-Pakistan area who was, one, from the Arabian Peninsula and, two, who had serious clerical credentials," Kohlmann said. "Now there is no obvious publicly recognizable candidate left to succeed Zawahiri."
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Race winner Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain (C) stands between second place finisher Christopher Froome of Great Britain (L) and third place finisher Vincenzo Nibali of Italy on the presentation podium following the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris on July 22, 2012. Wiggins of Great Britain became that country's first ever overall winner of the Tour de France. UPI/David Silpa