In a statement from its "general command", Al-Qa'ida Central (AQC) has reported that its general commander in Afghanistan, the Egyptian Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, has been "martyred. Long a financial manager for AQC, al-Yazid has issued numerous statements in the past on a variety of topics, including a fair number of eulogies for "martyred" AQC leaders and allies, such as the founder of Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Baytullah Mehsud (Baitullah Masood). Most recently he eulogized the late leaders of the Islamic State of Iraq, Abu 'Umar al-Baghdadi and Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, who was also head of Al-Qa'ida in the Land of the Two Rivers/Iraq (AQI). It now seems that one of AQC's surviving leaders will need to eulogize him.
The statement says that al-Yazid was killed, in the "caravan of martyrs" (qafilat al-shuhada'), along with his wife, three of his daughters, and a granddaughter. He was a founding member of AQC, from the Egyptian faction led by the group's chief ideologue and deputy leader, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri. A good biographical sketch of al-Yazid is provided in this article by journalist Howard Altman on The Daily Beast.
The statement, embedded below, though released as a downloadable Word document, is not on the distinctive letterhead of AQC's media wing, the Al-Sahab (The Clouds) Media Foundation. Some AQC statements are not released as downloadable documents and are contained in threads on the handful of major jihadi-takfiri web forums, so the basic formatting of the statement about al-Yazid's death may not be noteworthy. On the other hand, it may possibly suggest the current transitory nature of AQC's media operations, which have not released a major video production in some time.
A number of members of AQC, the Afghan "Quetta Shura" Taliban, and TTP have been killed in unmanned drone strikes launched by the United States Central Intelligence Agency, most recently in South Waziristan on the afternoon of Friday, May 28. Among those killed in drone strikes in the past (not on Friday) were TTP founder Baytullah Mehsud and rising AQC preacher Abu Mansur al-Shami (a Palestinian-Jordanian, Mahmoud Zaydan/Zaidan). The statement makes no mention of how al-Yazid was killed but anonymous U.S. intelligence sources report it was a drone missile strike.
Martyrdom of Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid (May 31)
Martyrdom of Mustafa Abu al-Yazid