Thursday 14 December 2017

Al-Qa'ida's 12 most wanted

Terrorists remain on the run in Pakistan, says US

Malcolm Moore in Washington

The US believes that at least a dozen senior leaders of al-Qa'ida are on the run in Pakistan, according to Mike Rogers, the chairman of the Congressional Intelligence Committee.

"Of the 20 senior leaders in al-Qa'ida, at least a dozen of them we believe to be travelling around Pakistan someplace," he said, arguing that the US should maintain a co-operative relationship with Pakistan in order to pursue the men.

The 12 men include some of al-Qa'ida's most senior leaders, including Ayman al-Zawahri, who is Osama Bin Laden's presumed heir.

1. Ayman al-Zawahri

Egyptian. Age 59. Bin Laden's deputy and current operational commander of al-Qa'ida, according to the US State Department. Went into hiding with Bin Laden during the US invasion of Afghanistan and managed to survive a US air strike that targeted him in a Pakistani tribal region in January 2006. There is a $25m (€16.8m) reward on his head.

2. Saif al-Adel

Egyptian. Age around 50. Thought to be a high-ranking member of al-Qa'ida, even perhaps the organisation's military chief. He was thought to be in prison in Iran, but has now almost certainly been released and has returned to North Waziristan in Pakistan. There is a $5m (€3.3m) reward on his head.

3. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith

Kuwaiti. Age 45. Al-Qa'ida spokesman and radical preacher. Detained in Iran in 2003 but released and allowed to leave the country in 2010, according to Kuwait media. Suspected of having rejoined Bin Laden in Pakistan.

4. Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah

Egyptian. Age late 40s. Wanted for the 1998 series of bombings on US embassies in East Africa. Member of al-Qa'ida's top council. According to US intelligence he fled Nairobi in 1998 and went to Pakistan, where he may remain at large.

5. Adnan al-Shukri Juma

Saudi. 35. A younger member of al-Qa'ida, Shukri Juma may have risen up the ranks because of the loss of more senior members. He spent time living in the US and may have been behind a failed attempt on the New York subway system. He may be in charge of operations for North America and is thought to be in Waziristan.

6. Rashid Rauf

Dual British Pakistani citizenship. Age around 34. Rauf is suspected of involvement in the failed attempt in 2006 to blow up aircraft leaving from London Heathrow with liquid explosives. He escaped from Pakistani custody in December 2007 and was reportedly killed by a US drone attack in Pakistan in November 2008. But his family have denied his death and some sources believe he remains at large.

7. Ilyas Kashmiri

Pakistani. Age 47. Kashmiri is one of the most important figures rising up al-Qa'ida's ranks. A one-eyed, red-bearded guerrilla warfare expert, he is thought to have masterminded some of the deadliest attacks in India and Pakistan. He is also the commander of Brigade 313, a unit that is sometimes described as al-Qa'ida's Pakistani arm.

8. Hakimullah Mehsud

Pakistani. Age 32. Hakimullah Mehsud is the leader of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) movement, which has been described as having a symbiotic relationship with al-Qa'ida by the US. "TTP draws ideological guidance from al-Qa'ida while al-Qa'ida relies on the TTP for safe haven in the Pashtun areas along the Afghan-Pakistani border," said Daniel Benjamin, a US counter-terrorism chief. An aggressive field commander, Mehsud was thought to be killed by a drone attack in January 2010, but subsequent videos proved he survived the attack.

9. Ghulam Mustafa

Pakistani. 40. Very little has been reported of Mustafa since he was released by Pakistan in 2006. Before then he was thought to be al-Qa'ida's chief in Pakistan. However, he was never formally charged or handed over to the US and has quietly disappeared from view. He may have left al-Qa'ida, tainted by suspicion of co-operation with Pakistani intelligence.

10. Abu Yahya al-Libi

Libyan. Age 47. A high-ranking member of al-Qa'ida, Libi escaped from an American prison in Afghanistan and is thought to have subsequently survived a US drone strike in Pakistan in 2009. He is considered to be "the scholar" of al-Qa'ida and often takes on the role of a preacher.

11. Anas al-Liby

(also known as Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Raghie), Libyan. Age late 40s. Charged by the US with involvement in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Has a $5m reward on his head.

12. Qari Saifullah Akhtar

Nationality and age unknown. The leader of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami is an alleged member of al-Qa'ida who was released by Pakistan from custody last December. He was reported to have trained 3,500 operatives in Afghanistan before the invasion. (© Daily Telegraph,London)

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