Washington, 18 May (AKI) – A former Egyptian special forces officer has been chosen as the new leader of Al-Qaeda following the shooting death of Osama Bin Laden earlier this month, CNN reported.
Saif al-Adel has been a prominent player in the upper ranks of the terrorist organisation, the report said, citing an interview with Noman Benotman, who was once a leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), a militant organization that used to be aligned with al Qaeda, but in recent years renounced Al-Qaeda’s ideology, CNN said.
Benotman based the information on personal communications with militants and discussions on jihadist forums.
Al-Adel, is also known as Muhamad Ibrahim Makkawi, the report said. According to Benotman, he was annointed the new Al-Qaeda chief because of a strong desire by jihadists to have a new leader to replace Bin Laden following his death on 2 May.
The decision to appoint Al-Adel ass “caretaker” leader belonged to six to eight leaders of Al-Qaeda in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area, CNN said.
Al-Adel battled the Soviets in Afghanistan during the 1980s. Following the fall of the Taliban in the late 2001 he fled to Iran, the report said. He later made his way to Pakistan.
According to senior Saudi counterterrorism officials, from there Al-Adel authorized Al-Qaeda’s branch in Saudi Arabia to begin a campaign of terrorist attacks in the Saudi kingdom that began in Riyadh in May 2003, a campaign that killed scores., CNN said.