Al-Qaeda Picks Egyptian as Interim Leader

Saif al-Adel may be placeholder for Zawahri
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2011 4:40 PM CDT
This undated image released by the FBI shows Saif al-Adel, one of the FBI's most wanted terrorists.   (AP Photo/FBI, File)

(Newser) – Al-Qaeda has yet to name a successor to Osama bin Laden, but CNN reports that a "caretaker" leader is in place. He is identified as Saif al-Adel, an Egyptian who has been in the group's upper echelon for years. Even al-Qaeda has to worry about politics, apparently: Adel may simply be the equivalent of a test balloon to see how the group's rank-and-file reacts to the idea of someone from Egypt—as opposed to the Arabian Peninsula—taking charge. If it goes well, it could pave the way for bin Laden deputy Ayman al-Zawahri, also an Egyptian, to take permanent control.

In another al-Qaeda development, the Wall Street Journal reports that Pakistani authorities arrested a mid-level operative in Karachi. It's the first such arrest since the raid on bin Laden's compound soured US-Pakistan relations. It comes a day after John Kerry visited Islamabad and promised better cooperation between the two countries, though it's unclear whether US forces took part in the arrest. (Read more Saif al-Adel stories.)

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