The United Nations has identified a new leader of the al Qaeda terrorist group. He has a $10 million bounty on his head.
Seif al-Adel is a former Egyptian special forces officer who is a high-ranking member of al Qaeda. A report released this week named him as the operating and uncontested leader of the militant organization.
Al Qaeda has not formally named a successor for Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was believed to have been killed in a U.S. missile strike in Kabul last year.
In late July, a drone strike was ordered by President Joe Biden in Afghanistan.
The airstrike and consequent death of Zawahiri dealt the biggest blow to the terrorist group since its founder Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011.
Al Qaeda has not officially named a successor to al-Zawahiri, and al-Adel is not officially recognized as the leader, according to the U.N.
Zawahiri’s death piled pressure on the group to choose a strategic leader who can carefully plan deadly operations and run a jihadi network, experts on al Qaeda say.
Although intelligence officials recently said that Zawahiri’s succession remained unclear, the United Nations report assessing risks from the group said: “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.”
The FBI has placed a $10 million bounty on al-Adel, who is wanted for the 1998 bombings at U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, which killed 224 people and injured thousands of others.
Unlike his slain predecessors who maintained a high profile with fiery videos broadcast around the globe threatening the United States, experts say Adel planned attacks from the shadows as he helped turn al Qaeda into the world’s deadliest militant group.