New al-Qaeda leader named - reports

2011-05-18 17:08
Dubai - Al-Qaeda has chosen a former Egyptian special forces officer as interim leader of the violent extremist group following the death this month of Osama bin Laden, CNN and Al Jazeera reported on Tuesday.

Saif al-Adel, a top al-Qaeda strategist and senior military leader, has been tapped as "caretaker" chief of the group, CNN reported, citing former Libyan militant Noman Benotman, who has renounced al-Qaeda's ideology.

The pan-Arab satellite channel Al Jazeera issued a similar report that quoted a Pakistani security official as saying Adel was appointed during a meeting of between "six and eight al-Qaeda leaders."

Mohammed Mustafa al-Yamani was also chosen as the network's commander.

Pakistan's The News newspaper had also corroborated the report, citing unnamed sources in an article datelined Rawalpindi, a city home to the military headquarters of the Pakistani Armed Forces, near the capital Islamabad.

The decision to choose Adel, also known as Muhamad Ibrahim Makkawi, came as militants grew increasingly restive over the lack of a formal successor to bin Laden, who was killed in a dramatic US commando raid deep in Pakistan on May 2, Benotman told CNN.

Adel took refuge in Iran after the US invasion of Afghanistan, according to a Al Jazeera report.

The 50-year-old militant was allegedly involved in attacks that targeted US embassies in Nairobi and Dar al-Salam in 1998.

Bin Laden's long-time deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, another Egyptian, is considered to be his presumed successor.

Benotman said the appointment of Adel on a temporary basis may be a way for the group to gauge reaction to having someone outside the Muslim holy region of the Arabian Peninsula at the helm.

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