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Abdul Rahman al-Maghrabi, Saif al-Adl Candidates to Succeed Zawahiri in Leading Al-Qaeda

Abdul Rahman al-Maghrabi, Saif al-Adl Candidates to Succeed Zawahiri in Leading Al-Qaeda

Friday, 5 August, 2022 - 09:00
Taliban fighters drive a car on the street following the killing of leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a US strike over the weekend (Reuters)

Observers began speculating about al-Qaeda's third Emir after the death of Ayman Zawahiri.

Currently, two names are being circulated as possible candidates for the position: the Moroccan Mohammad Abati, dubbed Abdul Rahman al-Maghrabi, and Mohammad Salaheddine Zeidan, named Saif al-Adl.

Abati is the son-in-law of Zawahiri and was very close to him. He was born in 1970 in Marrakesh and has served as the general commander of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2012. He was also in charge of the organization's website, Sahab Foundation.

Abati was also in charge of foreign communications and coordinating with external parties.

In 2006, he disappeared from the public eye after a false announcement about his death during a US raid in Waziristan.

Washington offered a reward of $7 million for revealing the whereabouts of Abati and imposed sanctions on anyone who dealt with him.

The US media revealed that documents recovered from the former leader of the organization, Osama bin Laden, showed that al-Mughrabi's influence has been growing in al-Qaeda for years.

The US Treasury has previously published a list of al-Qaeda operatives targeted by sanctions, including Mughrabi, nicknamed the al-Marrakchi.

However, other organization leaders are nominating Saif al-Adl, whose name also topped the list of candidates for the succession of Zawahiri.

Saif is a former officer in the Egyptian Special Forces and was welcomed by Iran after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US, along with other Qaeda members, before returning to Afghanistan.

He advanced in the organization until becoming the third man after bin Laden and Zawahiri. He assumed responsibility for Qaeda’s security and was dubbed the Minister of Defense in the organization.

In 1998, the US administration set a prize of $10 million to anyone who provides information on Saif al-Adl, following the bombings of the US embassy in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam.

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