Top al Qaeda official reportedly arrested at Egypt airport

Top al Qaeda official reportedly arrested at Egypt airport

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[JURIST] Former al Qaeda [JURIST news archive] military commander Saif al-Adel [Telegraph profile] was arrested at an airport in Cairo [Al Ahram report] on Tuesday, according to the Egyptian media. Egyptian security officials detained al-Adel upon his arrival after noticing that his name appeared on the passenger list on a flight from Pakistan. Before he was taken away for questioning, however, al-Adel contended that Egyptian officials had mistaken his identity [BBC report], and that he was not the al Qaeda official that authorities sought. Doubts have since emerged over whether the man detained on Tuesday is actually al-Adel. The Christian Science Monitor reported [text] that the man arrested by Egyptian officials was probably an Egyptian militant who shares a similar alias to al-Adel. al-Adel has been on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists Lists [materials] since 1998 for his connection with the August 7, 1998, bombings of US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. The US Department of State [official website] is offering a five million dollar reward for his capture.

In September a CIA drone strike in Yemen killed senior al Qaeda leader [JURIST report] and US citizen Anwar al-Awlaki [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. The strike marked the US government’s most successful attack against al Qaeda since the raid leading to the death of Osama bin Laden [JURIST report] in Pakistan last May. In June al Qaeda operative Fazul Abdullah Mohammed was killed [JURIST report] by security forces at a checkpoint in Somalia. Mohammed was on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists Lists [materials] for his involvement in the 1998 US embassy bombings. Al-Adel, who has also gone by the alias Mohammed Ibrahim Makkawi, has drawn a great deal of international interest since the US embassy bombings. In May, following Osama Bin-Laden’s death, al-Adel operated as the interim head of Al Qaeda [Telegraph report]. In March 2011, al-Adel published a series of letters [materials] covering the Arab Spring [JURIST news archive] uprisings.