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UN Report: Seif al-Adel With $10 Million US Bounty Is Al Qaeda’s New ‘Uncontested’ Leader

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According to a recent UN report, Seif al-Adel, an ex-Egyptian special forces officer and high-ranking Al Qaeda member with a $10 million US bounty on his head, is now the terrorist group’s “uncontested” leader.

Since the death of its founder Osama bin Laden in 2011, Al Qaeda has not officially declared a replacement for Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was thought to have been killed in a US missile strike in Kabul last year.

The United Nations report assessing risks from the group stated: “In discussions in November and December, many Member States took the view that Seif al-Adel is already operating as the de facto and uncontested leader of the group,” despite a US intelligence official saying in January that Zawahiri’s succession was still doubtful.

According to Al Qaeda specialists, Zawahiri’s passing increased pressure on the organization to select a strategic leader who can methodically plan lethal attacks and oversee a jihadi network.

Adel charged with murders and bombings

The analysts claim that Adel prepared assaults in secrecy while he assisted in making Al Qaeda the deadliest extremist organization in the world, in contrast to his murdered predecessors who showed off their ferocity by releasing videos threatening the United States.

A US 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.

The FBI possess only three pictures of him, one of which is a very serious black and white picture of him on the investigative organization’s most wanted list.

Not much is known about Adel apart from his activities in Africa, some of his training facilities, and his link to the 2002 murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, according to US authorities.

According to the American State Department, Adel is based in Iran. In accordance with the department’s Rewards for Justice programme, information about Adel, who is allegedly a member of “Al Qaeda’s senior council” and in charge of the group’s military committee, may earn a person up to $10 million.

“It is worth noting that the address for the so-called newly appointed Al-Qaeda leader is incorrect. This misinformation could potentially hinder efforts to combat terrorism,” it said.

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.

The Iranian mission to the UN denied Adel was in Iran in a statement published on Twitter on Wednesday.

Adel described as ruthless, cunning

In a profile published by the Combating Terrorism Center, Ali Soufan, a former FBI special agent who monitored Al Qaeda terrorists, stated that the militant whose nom de guerre means “sword of justice” has been described as a cunning individual with a poker face. He goes by Mohammed Salahuddin Zeidan in real life.

“Yet his temper, too, has become notorious. Possessed of a ‘caustic tongue’, he is apt to threaten violence against anyone who displeases him, and is known to meet disloyalty with swift and ruthless force,” wrote Soufan.

“Toward underlings he can be contemptuous, even brutal, in the heat of the moment. But he has also been known as a font of avuncular advice. In happier times, he showed a talent for soccer and a penchant for practical jokes.”

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.

According to experts, Adel has had a long-standing relationship with the central command and is one of the last of the Al Qaeda old guard. He would be responsible for offering strategic direction to remote franchises operating independently in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, they added.

Adel is one of the most sought terrorists according to the FBI, who claims he planned to kill Americans, commit murder, and engage in other violent crimes.

Adel expanded his extremist credentials after he joined fellow Arab militants in Afghanistan battling Soviet occupation forces. He then oversaw a training facility before rising to the position of senior leader in Al Qaeda.

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