According to a recent U.N. report on the organization, Seif al-Adel, a former Egyptian special forces officer who is currently the “undisputed” leader of Al Qaeda, has a $10 million bounty placed on him by the American FBI.
Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a U.S. missile strike in Afghanistan last year, thus dealing the organization its first blow since the death of its founder Osama bin Laden in 2011. Al Qaeda has not openly nominated a replacement.
Seif al-Adel is already acting as the de facto and undisputed leader of the group, according to numerous Member States, according to a United Nations report assessing risks from the group.
Experts on al Qaeda claim that Zawahiri’s passing increased pressure on the organization to select a strategic leader who can carefully plan lethal operations and lead a jihadi network, but unlike his already deceased predecessors who maintained a high profile with ferocious videos broadcast around the world threatening the United States, the experts say Adel planned attacks behind the scenes.
A U.S. federal grand jury indicted and accused Adel in November 1998 for his involvement in the bombings of the American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, which resulted in the deaths of 224 people and the injury of over 5,000 others.
There are only three photos of him, according to the US FBI, one of which is a very somber black and white image of him on the FBI’s most wanted list.
Except from his operations in Africa, his training facilities, and his connection to the 2002 murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, according to U.S. authorities, not much else is known about Adel.
According to a recent report released on Wednesday, February 15, the FBI is promising up to $10 million for information on Adel, who it claims is a member of “al Qaeda’s leadership council” and oversees the organization’s military committee. The FBI believes Adel is based in Iran.
According to the State Department, Adel, a former lieutenant colonel in the Egyptian army, relocated to southeast Iran following the bombings in Africa and lived there under the protection of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
In April 2003, Iran held him and other Al Qaeda officials under house detention. Iran later freed him and four other individuals in return for an Iranian diplomat who had been abducted in Yemen.
Experts on the jihadi movement claim that Adel began his long, bloody career in 1981 when he was suspected of being involved in the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat by Islamist soldiers during a military parade in Cairo that was broadcast on television. Adel was once Osama bin Laden’s chief bodyguard and a senior militant trainer.Security analysts claim that he was also involved in the 1993 “Black Hawk Down” incident, which involved the ambush of American helicopters in Mogadishu and resulted in the deaths of 18 American service members. That started the process of a U.S.-U.N. peacekeeping mission eventually leaving Somalia.