THE US State Department announced on Wednesday that Saif al-Adel, an Iran-based Egyptian, has become the head of Al-Qaeda following the July 2022 death of Ayman al-Zawahiri.
“Our assessment aligns with that of the UN — that al-Qaeda’s new de facto leader Saif al-Adel is based in Iran,” a state department spokesperson stated.
The United Nations report released on Tuesday said that the predominant view of member states is that Adel is now the group’s leader, “representing continuity for now.”
According to the UN report, the group has not formally declared him “emir” because of sensitivity to the concerns of the Taliban authorities in Afghanistan, who haven’t wanted to acknowledge that Zawahiri was killed by a US rocket in a home in Kabul last year.
Adel, 62, is a former Egyptian special forces lieutenant-colonel and figure in the old guard of Al-Qaeda.
He helped build the group’s operational capacity and trained some of the hijackers who took part in the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States, according to the US Counter Extremism Project.