Hindustan Times reports:
A fierce succession battle appears to be gripping the senior ranks of al Qaeda in the wake of the death of leader Osama bin Laden, pitting regional affiliates against the central “hardcore” of the organisation. Reports from Pakistan have named an Egyptian former special forces officer, ,as the acting leader of al Qaeda.
Adel, who is in his late 40s, is a veteran militant who was close to bin Laden in the 1990s. He was detained in Iran after fleeing Afghanistan following the ouster of the Taliban in 2001. According to Noman Benotman, a former Libyan militant now living in London, al-Adel, also known as Muhamad Ibrahim Makkawi, was released from Iranian detention and returned to Pakistan last year.
The report in the News newspaper of Pakistan identified al-Adel as having been chosen as “interim leader” after a meeting at “an undisclosed location”. It said none of the sons of bin Laden had shown willingness to take up a formal position within the organisation.
If confirmed, the appointment of al-Adel is a major blow to bin Laden’s close associate Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian extremist who has long been seen as the group’s number two and key strategist.
[Continues at Hindustan Times]