U.S. officials say a CIA drone strike has killed al-Qaida's chief of operations in Pakistan, in the latest blow to the terror group's leadership.
The officials, who did not want to be named, told news agencies Thursday that Abu Hafs al-Shahri was killed earlier this week, but did not give details.
Pakistani security officials said a U.S. drone strike killed at least three people in the North Waziristan tribal region on Sunday. It was unclear whether that attack was the one which killed Shahri.
U.S. officials say the senior al-Qaida leader worked closely with the Pakistani Taliban to carry out attacks inside Pakistan.
Shahri was also considered a possible replacement for al-Qaida's deputy leader, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan's northwest tribal region on August 22.
Rahman had risen to the number-two spot in al-Qaida, after U.S. special forces killed the terror network's leader, Osama bin Laden, during a covert raid in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad on May 2.
And earlier this month, Pakistan's military said security forces had arrested senior al-Qaida leader, Younis al-Mauritani, and two other al-Qaida operatives during an operation in the southern city of Karachi.
Bin Laden reportedly tasked Mauritani with targeting economic interests in the United States, Europe and Australia.
The White House praised the arrest of Mauritani as an example of the longstanding partnership between the U.S. and Pakistan in fighting terrorism.