Demise of al-Qaida's 'number three'
In 1999 or thereabouts Libi, believed to be aged in his 40s, surfaced in Afghanistan, operating as both a field commander and later a spokesman for al-Qaida. His most recent post was his most dangerous to date.
Security services believe he was al-Qaida's "number three" or their "director of operations". Such hierarchical terminology may not best communicate the nature of the phenomenon that is al-Qaida but nonetheless it is clear that such a role is in many ways the riskiest one in the organisation.
Previously in this series:
Al-Qaeda number three 'killed by CIA spy plane' in Pakistan December 3, 2005
Pakistan Arrests Al Qaeda's No. 3 Leader May 05, 2005