After Ayman al-Zawahiri, this man is touted to helm Al-Qaeda

New DelhiEdited By: C KrishnasaiUpdated: Aug 02, 2022, 03:10 PM IST
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Zawahiri became the Al-Qaeda chief in 2011 after the death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of US forces in Pakistan.

The United States dealt a massive blow to the Al-Qaeda terrorist organisation by killing its chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in a drone strike in Afghanistan’s Kabul city over the weekend.

While addressing the nation, President Joe Biden confirmed the attack on Monday evening, saying that, “Justice has been delivered” and hoped Zawahiri’s death will bring “closure” to families of the 3,000 people killed in the 9/11 attack in the United States.

Zawahiri became the Al-Qaeda chief in 2011 after the death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of US forces in Pakistan.

Now with Zawahiri’s death, a leadership vacuum has emerged in the terrorist organisation. Though there is no official confirmation as to who would succeed Zawahiri, reports have been swirling around that Saif al-Adel, a former Egyptian colonel, will take the mantle.

Who is Saif al-Adel?

According to Middle East Institute, Adel will most likely head Al-Qaeda. According to US intelligence agencies, he is a former Egyptian army officer who is the founding member of Al-Qaeda. He was earlier associated with another terror group Maktab al-Khidmat (MAK).

MAK was founded by Osama bin Laden in the 1980s to provide money and recruit fighters around the world. It enlisted and transported thousands of men to Afghanistan to fight the Russians. The group later got split, in which bin Laden-led extremist faction formed Al-Qaeda.

Adel was also once bin Laden's security chief and is on the FBI's most-wanted list since 2001 in connection with Al-Qaeda’s 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

The FBI has raised his bounty to $10 million.

He has been highly active in Iran in recent times and reportedly keeps issuing directives through Telegram to terrorist groups in Syria.

ABC News had earlier reported that US forces have been looking for Adel since 1993, when he orchestrated the ambush of US forces and helicopters in Mogadishu, Somalia in which 18 Americans died. Adel was 30 at that time.

(With inputs from agencies)