Unconfirmed reports say Egyptian militant Saif al-Adel has been chosen to lead the global terror group al Qaeda following the killing of Osama bin Laden in a raid on May 1 in Pakistan by US Navy SEALs.
Noman Benotman, an analyst with the Quilliam Foundation think tank and a former associate of bin Laden, told Reuters that Al-Adel will remain the operational chief of al Qaeda until the group decides on who should lead the group's future plans.
Benotman's version was not confirmed as he cited known sources in the Jihadist groups.
This role that he has assumed is not as overall leader, but he is in charge in operational and military terms, he told Reuters.
Al-Adel was involved in the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania along with bin Laden.
He was later made commander of the military wing following the death of Mohammed Atef in 2001. Incidentally, he was known to be closer to Iran unlike bin Laden, who was critical of Iran's role. Later he went to Sudan and then to Lebanon. He was also trained by Hezbollah group in the Middle East in using weapons.
He was instrumental in helping bin Laden to set up training camps in Afghanistan in the 1990s against the Soviet troops. He was captured by Iran but was released in exchange for an Iranian diplomat who was held by militants in Afghan-Pakistan border in March 2009.