Meet the new Al Qaeda boss.
A report by CNN says that Saif al-Adel, a former Egyptian special forces officer, has been appointed “caretaker” leader of the terrorist network following the death of Osama bin Laden.
Saif al-Adel has long played a prominent role in Al Qaeda, and was once a leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a militant group that was previously aligned with Al Qaeda but has since renounced its ideology, CNN reports. Some experts had expected bin Laden's longstanding deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, to step in for bin Laden.
Bin Laden was killed May 2 in a special mission by U.S. Navy SEALs at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, nearly a decade after he ordered the September 11, 2001 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in the United States.
Former Libyan militant Noman Benotman, who has renounced Al-Qaeda's ideology, told CNN that Adel had been chosen as interim leader because the global jihadist community was growing restive about the lack of a successor to bin Laden.
Al-Jazeera has reported similar news, citing Pakistani security officials as saying that Adel was appointed during a meeting of between "six and eight Al Qaeda leaders" on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
Al-Jazeera also reported that Mohammed Mustafa al-Yemeni, whose surname suggests he is from Yemen, will direct Al Qaeda operations.
Adel, 50, fought the Soviets in Afghanistan during the 1980s, and took refuge in Iran after the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Al-Jazeera reports. He was allegedly involved in the attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.
He is listed among the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists.
However, the choice of an Egyptian as interim leader may upset some Saudi and Yemeni members of Al Qaeda, who believe that bin Laden’s successor should come from the Arabian Peninsula, CNN reports, citing Benotman.