Abu Hamza Rabia, a leading al-Qaeda operative was killed in a rocket attack on Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, according to local reports on Monday.
Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, Pakistan's Interior Minister, said that the death was a major step in the 'war on terror'.
The 38-year-old English-speaking Egyptian was considered to rank third in the network's hierarchy, behind Osama Bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri.
He was implicated in two assassination attempts on President Pervez Musharraf and the plotting of the 9/11 attacks on America, and carried a $5 million bounty, according to Times Online.
But reports of Rabia's death were contradicted later in the day by local tribesmen. Haji Mohammad Siddiq told Reuters that his 17-year-old son and an eight-year-old nephew were killed in the blast. He said there were no militants present at the time.