According to a report circulated by U.N. member states on Monday, Sayf al-‘Adl, Osama bin-Laden’s former security head, is now leading the terrorist group al-Qaeda. The report states that no announcement was made regarding the replacement of Ayman al-Zawahri after his death in a U.S. drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan last August. However, many U.N. member states believe that Sayf al-‘Adl is already operating as the de facto and uncontested leader of the group. The report also suggests that al-‘Adl has a “continued presence” in Iran.
Sayf al-’Adl is listed on the U.N. sanctions blacklist as Mohammed Salahaldin Abd El Halim Zidan since January 2001. He is known for taking over as military commander of al-Qaeda following the death of Mohammed Atef in a U.S. attack in November 2001. He is also wanted by U.S. authorities in connection with the August 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. There is a $10 million reward for information leading to his arrest.
The report also states that the threat from al-Qaeda, the ISIS terrorist group, and their affiliates “remains high in conflict zones and neighboring countries,” with Africa emerging in recent years “as the continent where the harm done by terrorism is developing most rapidly and extensively.” In addition, the report notes that al-Qaeda has access to weapons in the Middle East and Africa, and that transnational crime networks are providing it with weapons as well. It also states that al-Qaeda is using the internet for propaganda and recruiting new fighters.
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