Explained: Who could succeed Al Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri?

The The United States was killed al Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri Washington officials said a drone missile as he stood on the balcony of his home in downtown Kabul, Afghanistan, was the militants’ biggest strike since Osama bin Laden was shot dead in 2011.

Here are some of the top contenders to take over the militant group, according to experts.

sword of justice

A mysterious, low-level ex-Egyptian special forces officer is a high-ranking member of al-Qaeda.

The United States is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to his arrest.

Al-Adl was accused of involvement in the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981, and he left the country in 1988 to join the Mujahideen fighting the Soviet occupation in Afghanistan.

A prominent al-Qaeda military leader, often called the third al-Qaeda official, helped plan the 1998 bombing attacks on the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam and set up training camps for the group in Sudan. Pakistan and Afghanistan in the 1990s.

In 2004, Justice Diaries were found during a raid in Saudi Arabia. His role in the organization was as a trainer, military commander, and member of bin Laden’s security unit.

Before joining al-Qaeda he was a member of Egypt’s Islamic Jihad, which was bent on overthrowing the state.

US investigators said in a report that Al-Adel was linked to the 2002 murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan.

The findings of Project Pearl investigators revealed that Al-Adl discussed the Pearl kidnapping with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, also known as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the accused mastermind behind the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

Al-Adel was appointed interim commander after bin Laden’s death.

Yazid Mubarak


Mubarak, an Algerian national, ran media operations for al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, using a 2013 video clip to call for global attacks against French interests after Paris sent troops to help quell an armed rebellion in Mali.

Mubarak, 53, pictured in one with a full gray beard and green turban, is a veteran of Algeria’s civil war in the 1990s between the government and Islamist forces, and rose through the ranks of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb took advantage of the chaos in the Sahel region to become one of the most active and valuable branches of the global network, kidnapping Westerners and launching attacks across vast swathes of territory.

As a testament to the importance of AQIM to al-Qaeda, Mubarak’s predecessor as its chief Abdelmalek Droukdel played a role in the leadership team of the global movement under al-Zawahiri, before she was killed by French forces in 2020.

However, analysts believe that AQIM has lost control of the new armed groups in the Sahel, one of the most important arenas of jihadist activity in the world, while Mubarak is reported to be suffering from old casualties and lacking the charisma of Droukdel.

Abdel Rahman Moroccan

Moroccan-born citizen Abd al-Rahman al-Maghraby is wanted for questioning by the FBI regarding his membership in al-Qaeda. The FBI said he studied software programming in Germany before moving to Afghanistan, where he was chosen to run the main media wing of al-Qaeda. Al-Zawahiri’s son-in-law is a prominent al-Qaeda leader.

Documents found in the operation that killed bin Laden indicated that al-Mughrabi had been a rising star in the group for many years. He served as the general director of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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