Al Qaeda's chief of operations in Pakistan was killed this week in a CIA drone strike in Waziristan, according to U.S. officials.
Pentagon spokesman George Little said Abu Hafs al Shahri "coordinated al Qaeda's anti-U.S. plots in the region, and worked closely with the Pakistani Taliban to carry out attacks inside Pakistan."
The Taliban operations chief also was in line to take over for al Qaeda's second in command, Atiyah Abd al Rahman, who was killed in August.
"Shahri's death removes a key threat inside Pakistan, where he collaborated closely with the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan to conduct coordinated attacks," the London Telegraph quoted a U.S. official said.
The U.S. is working to cripple al Qaeda by taking out the organization's top leaders, including Ayman al Zawahiri. Al Qaeda's new leader is believed to be somewhere in Pakistan.