Saif al-Adil, a former Egyptian special forces officer and today one of al-Qaeda’s highest-ranking members, could become al-Qaeda’s new leader.
The murder of the previous leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in the attack carried out by the United States with an unmanned aerial vehicle in the Afghan capital, Kabul, brought up who would be the new leader.
So why is Seyfül Adil the most likely name and what is known about him?
His real name is Mohammed Salih al-Din Zaydan. It was previously believed that his real name was Mohammed Ibrahim Makkavi. However, he is mostly known by the name Seyfül Adil, which he uses for his fake identity. This name means ‘Sword of Justice’.
He was born in 1960 in Egypt. He joined the Egyptian army at the age of 16. Here he was promoted to the rank of Colonel in the special forces unit. His specialty is explosives. It is presumed that he was trained by Red Army specialists in the Soviet Union.
fled from Egypt
Like Ayman al-Zawahiri, his name was implicated in the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. He was later accused of joining the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and trying to overthrow the Egyptian government in 1987.
In 1988, at the age of 28, he fled Egypt to Afghanistan to join the mujahideen fighting against the Soviet occupation. There he entered the Afghan Service Bureau, which was established in 1984 to train mujahideen, heavily funded by Egypt and the Saudis, and played a role in the formation of Al-Qaeda.
He taught bomb making to the newcomers in this organization. He remained in Afghanistan after the war, serving similarly to the Taliban.
During this period, he was also a member of the Islamic Jihad organization, which aimed to overthrow the state in Egypt.
After 1994, at the age of 34, he joined Bin Laden’s team and thus became a member of Al Qaeda.
In 1998, he helped plan the bombings of the American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, the former capital of Tanzania.
It was the number three
In the 1990s, he set up training camps for the organization in Sudan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. He has become al-Qaeda’s number three name.
He played an important role in the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.
He fled to Iran in 2001. Here he was caught by the Iranian authorities and placed under house arrest. He was released in exchange for a kidnapped Iranian diplomat. In this way he fled to Pakistan.
A report prepared by the USA included information that Adil was linked to the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan in 2002.
The United States put a $10 million bounty on his head for information leading to his arrest.
He is also thought to have played a role in a suicide bombing incident in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 2003.
On the team responsible for bin Laden’s security
Adil’s diary notes were seized during a raid in Saudi Arabia in 2004, according to AFP. In these notes, his role in the organization; training, military leadership, and being a member of Bin Laden’s security team.
Adil has since become the leader of al-Qaeda’s units in Iran. He was appointed interim leader of the organization after bin Laden’s death. These are some of the biggest reasons to think he will be the next leader of the organization.
He was allegedly caught
He returned to Iran in 2011. Meanwhile, in 2012, it was announced that he was caught at Cairo Airport while trying to enter Egypt. However, Iranian officials said Adil is still in Iran.
However, he was released in 2015 thanks to a prisoner exchange once again. Iran made a deal with the Al Qaeda unit in Yemen. There are also sources claiming the opposite and saying that Adil is still in Iran.