A New Year's Day Predator strike on an Al Qaeda safe house in northern Pakistan has killed two of the terrorist organization's top operatives, FOX News has learned.

The men were high on the FBI's "most wanted" list, identified by agency officials as Usama al-Kini — also known as Fahid Mohammed Ally Msalam, Al Qaeda's chief of operations in Pakistan — and his lieutenant, Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan.

A U.S. counter-terrorism expert says that they were two of the most lethal rising stars in Al Qaeda and had killed Americans in the past and planned to kill Americans again in the future.

Al-Kini and Swedan were indicted in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa, which many consider the key precursor to 9/11. Also, they are believed to be behind a deadly suicide bombing at a Marriot hotel in Pakistan's capital that killed 53 in September.

"They died preparing new acts of terror," the counter-terrorism expert told FOX News.