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The New Arab Staff

Al Qaeda appoints new leader dubbed 'Sword of Revenge'

The new leader is reportedly planning to renew the extremist organisation [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 February, 2021

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He reportedly took over from al Zawahiri, after rumours that the leader since 2011 died last November.

 

Al-Qaeda has reportedly announced the appointment of a new leader known as the 'Sword of Revenge', replacing its former leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The extremist group's new leader, whose real name is Saif al-Adel, has been tracked down by British and American intelligence agencies in Britain and is preparing a "new" version of the organisation, according to the Daily Mail. There are claims that he is keen to recruit Islamic State group fighters and commit a new wave of atrocities.

"It is planned to make the group dangerous, as it was under its founder Osama bin Laden," the newspaper quoted the group as saying, noting that former Egyptian general Saif al-Adel is hiding in Iran.

According to al-Zawahiri, he is likely to be at least a more effective leader, or even more than bin Laden, the paper said, noting that he had been involved in al-Qaeda activities for nearly 30 years.

One senior British terrorism expert told the Daily Mirror that “compared to Zawahiri he is likely to be a much more effective leader, at least so or more so even than bin Laden.”

A bounty of £7.5 million ($10.46 million) was placed on al-Adel following his role in the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam which killed 224 people. He was also noting that he was a leading member of Bin Laden's direct protection unit in Afghanistan and was nicknamed the "Black Ranger" in relation to the colour of his scarves.

Last November, claims of former al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri's death from natural causes were reported.

Al-Qaeda has not officially announced the death, but there were doubts over al-Zawahiri's health, due to severe asthma.

The official told CNN in 2019 that there was information indicating that al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had a "heart complaint" and may have been seriously ill.

Al-Zawahiri led al-Qaeda to after the death of Bin Laden, who was killed in a US operation in Pakistan in 2011.

He last appeared on a video recording on September 12, 2019, in which he spoke about the group's upcoming targets, on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

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