THE son-in-law of the assassinated Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri is tipped to take over the terrorist group.
Abdal-Rahman al-Maghrebi who has been the organisation’s “general manager” in Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2012, is a possible successor as the terror group’s leader after the death of Al-Zawahiri in a US drone strike.
The native Moroccan has served in a number of senior roles within Al Qaeda and was described by the US State Department as the “longtime director” of Al Qaeda’s media wing Al Sahab.
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 manage Al Sahab.
The Iran-based leader, also known as Muhammad Abbatay, has a $7 million bounty on his head.
Last month UN report included him among those who could be next in line to take over from Al-Zawahiri as head of Al Qaeda.
Another possibility is Al-Zawahiri’s second-in-command Saif al Adel, 62.
He is a longtime Al Qaeda leader and veteran who is also believed to have planned the 1998 embassy bombings.
Al Adel – a former Egyptian army colonel and explosives expert who once sheltered in Iran alongside other key jihadists – is now also believed to be in Afghanistan.
The ex-military general has been previously described as a “brilliant and ruthless” strategist.
Other possible successors are Yazid Mebrak, Al Qaeda’s emir in North Africa.
The Algerian native, also known as Abu Ubaydah Yusuf al-Anabi, and Abou Obeida Youssef al-Annabi, has a $7 million bounty on his head.
Another one that could be next in line is Ahmed Diriye, leader of Shabaab, the East African branch of the terror group.
Diriye who has also used the aliases Ahmed Umar and Abu Ubaidah has served in various roles in al-Shabaab including his predecessor Ahmed Abdi Godane senior advisor.
The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan has provided new opportunities for Al Qaeda and other Islamist terror groups to grow and regroup, while they plot fresh attacks on the West, Long War Journal reports.
It comes after yesterday Biden’s administration announced the death of Al-Zawahiri by two hellfire missiles in a strike in Kabul on July 31.
It is believed 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 Al Qaeda chief, who took over from Osama bin Laden after he was killed in 2011, had a $25m bounty on his head.
A senior Biden official said in a state that the terrorist was killed over the weekend in a “counterterrorism operation against a significant Al Qaeda target in Afghanistan”.
They added that “the operation was successful and there were no civilian casualties”.
President Biden confirmed the death of Al-Zawahiri in an address from the White House late Monday evening Eastern Time.
He said he gave the approval for the “precision strike” that killed the Egypt-born terrorist.
Biden said: “Since the United States delivered justice to bin Laden 11 years ago, Zawahiri has been a leader of al Qaeda.
“From hiding, he co-ordinated al Qaeda’s branches and all around the world, including setting priorities for providing operational guidance and calling for and inspired attacks against US targets.”
He added: “Now justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more.”
Biden added that Al-Zawahiri “was deeply involved in the planning of 9/11,” describing him as “the mastermind behind the attacks against Americans, including the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000 to kill 17 American sailors and wound dozens more”.
The US President added that Al-Zawahiri’s killing will bring closure to the families of the victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks.
“No matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out,” he continued.
Al-Zawahiri took over from bin Laden in June 2011, a month after the terror leader was shot and killed by US forces at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
His last public appearance was last year in a sick video on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, following reports he had died in 2020.