But American officials are so keen to trumpet their latest drone kill that it sounds like they are about to offer him a job rather than announce they have killed a bitter enemy.
They say he was "experienced", "versatile", played a "critical role" as a "longstanding member of the leadership" who had "gravitas" and "religious credentials".
Rather like some official announcement of the retirement of a colleague, they continue: "[Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-]Zawahiri will be hard-pressed to find any one person who can readily step into Abu Yahya's shoes."
"There is no-one who even comes close in terms of replacing the expertise AQ has just lost," they add.
This rather strange, gushing testimonial to a terrorist is all part of the Obama administration's new-found enthusiasm to open up about their drone wars.