WASHINGTON - (AP) - Al-Qaida is confirming the death of its No. 3official, Mustafa al-Yazid, as well as members of his family.

A U.S. official says al-Yazid was believed to have died in aU.S. missile strike.

A statement posted on an al-Qaida website describes al-Yazid asthe organization's top commander in Afghanistan. It says he waskilled along with his wife, three daughters, a grandchild and othermen, women and children but did not say how or where.

The statement was dated by an Islamic calendar month which fallsin May.

A U.S. official in Washington says word of the death was"spreading in extremist circles" in the past two weeks.

The official says the death would be a major blow to al-Qaida,which in December "lost both its internal and external operationschiefs."