Yesterday US Officials announced the death in Pakistan of Al Qaeda's number two man, the Libyan Atiyah abd al-Rahman.
He was apparently killed killed i Waziristan in a strike by an unmanned drone on August 22.
U.S. officials said: "Atiyah's death is a tremendous loss for al Qaeda, because (Zawahri) was relying heavily on him to help guide and run the organization, especially since bin Laden's death.The trove of materials from bin Laden's compound showed clearly that Atiyah was deeply involved in directing al Qaeda's operations even before the (May) raid. He had multiple responsibilities in the organization and will be very difficult to replace,"
Difficult to replace? I think Atiyah is the 847th deputy leader killed by US forces since 2001. Just three years ago Atiyah was the tea boy in Al Qaeda's office in Tuvalu so promotion can be quite rapid.
US forces are now hunting down Atiyah's succesor who is believed to be working as a sheepdog in the Brecon Beacons.
With so many number twos I am beginning to wonder if Al Qaeda is less a terrorist operation and more a serious case of dysentery.