On 2nd August 2022, the United States military carried out a drone strike on the former al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and killed him. Zawahiri was at that time in his home in Kabul and standing on his balcony when the drone missile was dropped on him.
Zawahiri said to be one of the people behind the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States had a bounty of $25 million on his head and his death is said to be almost as big as the killing of Osama bin Laden.
With Zawahiri gone, the organisation is now in the works to appoint a new leader and among the several names going around, as per reports one of the most expected ones is Saif al-Adel, a senior Al Qaeda leader.
Who Could Be The Next Leader?
When Osama bin Laden was killed, Ayman al-Zawahri’s succession went about uncontested, however, the situation is not the same this time around. As per a report by UN experts, it is believed that Egyptian jihadist Saif al-Adel is the frontrunner.
One of the reasons for this is said to be that he is also an Egyptian like al-Zawahiri while the other three names in the running Abd al-Rahman al-Maghribi, Yezid Mebarek, and Ahmed Diriye are non-Egyptian Africans.
Saif al-Adel is currently on the FBI’s list of most-wanted terrorists with a reward of $10 million for any information about him. It is not known when he was born but reports state it could be either 1960 or 1963 and he has had aliases like Muhamad Ibrahim Makkawi, Seif Al Adel, Ibrahim Al-Madani.
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He was also the caretaker emir of the Al-Qaeda when bin Laden was killed and before al-Zawahri was appointed as official leader.
Ali Soufan, a former FBI agent and author of ‘Anatomy of Terror’ when describing the former Egyptian special forces commando said that he is “one of the most experienced professional soldiers in the worldwide jihadi movement”.
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