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US counterterror chief: Al-Qaida now on the ropes

WASHINGTON—On a steady slide. On the ropes. Taking shots to the body and head. That’s how White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan described al-Qaida on Wednesday as he offered the first on-record confirmation that al-Qaida’s latest second-in-command was killed last week in Pakistan—roughly four months after Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden there. In an Associated Press interview, Brennan said the death of Atiyah Abd al-Rahman in Pakistan’s tribal areas last week was a “huge blow” to the group, damaging the network and keeping al-Qaida’s leadership too busy trying to hide to plot new attacks. Al-Rahman reportedly was hit by a CIA drone strike. In a wide-ranging interview,…