Citing Yemeni national security officials, CNN reports that Al Qaeda’s second-in-command, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, was killed in southern Yemen on Friday by a suspected U.S. drone strike.

According to former CIA analyst Bruce Riedel, al-Wuhayshi was “the designated successor” of Al Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri and ran “the most effective part of al-Qaeda,” Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula or AQAP.

Earlier this year, AQAP claimed responsibility for January’s deadly Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris.

U.S. officials confirmed on Monday that a drone strike had targeted al-Wuhayshi and other AQAP operatives, but told The Washington Post it was too soon to verify the terrorist leader’s death. From The New York Times:

It was the second time in as many days that the fate of a militant leader targeted in an American strike was uncertain. Early Sunday, American F-15s struck a suspected gathering of jihadists in Libya, and more than 24 hours later the fate of Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a leading Algerian terrorist whose death in the strike had beenreported by Libyan officials, remained in doubt.

The uncertainty about whether Mr. Wuhayshi and Mr. Belmokhtar were dead or alive underscored a recurring lesson from the Obama administration’s campaign of targeted killings of suspected terrorists: Even with multiple sources of intelligence, it is hard to be certain whom the missiles have hit in remote areas thousands of miles from the United States.

[Image via CNN]