Wiped-out son-in-law of Al-Qaeda leader dubbed ‘GM of terror’ tipped to take over – NBCNEWS

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THE son-in-law of slain Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri is tipped off to take over the terrorist group after being wiped out by an American drone.

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Abdal-Rahman al-Maghrebi — who has served as the organization’s “general director” in Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2012 — is seen as the most likely successor to Al-Zawahiri’s death.

Abdal-Rahman al-Maghrebi has a $7 million bounty on his head

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Abdal-Rahman al-Maghrebi has a $7 million bounty on his headCredit: Rewards for Justice
Al-Zawahiri (right) took over from bin Laden in 2011 (left)

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Al-Zawahiri (right) took over from bin Laden in 2011 (left)Credit: Getty
Al-Zawahri was killed in a drone strike on July 31

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Al-Zawahri was killed in a drone strike on July 31Credit: AP

The Moroccan has held a number of senior positions within Al Qaeda and has been described by the US State Department as the “old director” of Al Qaeda’s Al Sahab media wing.

He left Morocco in 1996 to study software programming in Cologne, Germany, before leaving to train at the al-Faruq camp in Afghanistan – where he was selected to lead Al Sahab.

The Iran-based leader, also known as Muhammad Abbatay, has a $7 million bounty on his head from the US State Department.

Last month, a UN report listed him among those who could be next to take charge of Al-Zawahiri as head of Al Qaeda.

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Another possibility is Al-Zawahiri’s second in command Saif al Adel, 62.

He is a longtime leader and veteran of Al Qaeda, who also planned the 1998 embassy attacks.

Al Adel — a former Egyptian army colonel and explosives expert who once took shelter in Iran along with other key jihadists — is now also believed to be in Afghanistan.

The ex-military general has previously been described as a “brilliant and ruthless” strategist.

Other possible successors include Yazid Mebrak, the emir of Al Qaeda in North Africa.

The Algerian resident, also known as Abu Ubaydah Yusuf al-Anabi, and Abou Obeida Youssef al-Annabi, has a $7 million bounty on his head.

Another who could be next in line is Ahmed Diriye, leader of Shabaab, the terror group’s East African branch.

Diriye, who has also used the aliases Ahmed Umar and Abu Ubaidah, has held various roles in al-Shabaab, including his senior adviser Ahmed Abdi Godane.

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has provided new opportunities for Al Qaeda and other Islamist terror groups to grow and regroup as they plot new attacks against the West. Long War Diary reports.

Saif al Adel is also possible next in line

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Saif al Adel is also possible next in lineCredit: AFP
Yazid Mubarak is the emir of the group in North Africa,

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Yazid Mubarak is the emir of the group in North Africa,Credit: Rewards of Justice
Ahmed Diriye, is the leader of Al-Shabaab

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Ahmed Diriye, is the leader of Al-ShabaabCredit: Rewards for Justice

It comes after US President Joe Biden announced the death of al-Zawahiri on Monday from two hellfire missiles in a July 31 attack in Kabul.

It is believed that Al-Zawahiri, also known as “The Doctor” or “Doctor Death”, was behind the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya and was on the FBI’s most wanted list.

The leader of Al Qaeda, who took over from Osama bin Laden after his assassination in 2011, had a $25 million bounty on his head.

A senior Biden official said the terror chief was killed in a “counter-terrorism operation against a key Al Qaeda target in Afghanistan”.

They added that “the operation was successful and there were no civilian casualties”.

President Biden confirmed Al-Zawahiri’s death in a White House address late Monday night.

He said he had approved the “precision attack” that killed the Egyptian-born terrorist.

Biden said: “Since the United States did justice to bin Laden 11 years ago, Zawahiri has been an al-Qaeda leader.

“From his hideout, he coordinated al-Qaeda and around the world branches, including prioritizing operational guidance and inciting and inspiring strikes against U.S. targets.”

He added: “Now justice has been done and this terrorist leader is no more.”

Biden said Al-Zawahiri was “deeply involved in the planning of 9/11,” describing him as “the mastermind behind attacks on Americans, including the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole that killed 17 American sailors and dozens of others were injured.”

The US president added that the assassination of Al-Zawahiri will bring an end to the families of the victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

“No matter how long it takes, wherever you hide, if you pose a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out,” he continued.

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Al-Zawahiri took over from bin Laden in June 2011, a month after the terror leader was shot dead by US troops at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

His last public appearance was in a sick video last year on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, following reports that he had passed away in 2020.

The US president confirmed the death of the group's leader

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The US president confirmed the death of the group’s leaderCredit: AP
Biden said Al Zawahiri was deeply involved in the planning of 9/11

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Biden said Al Zawahiri was deeply involved in the planning of 9/11Credit: Getty

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