Middle east

Who is Saad Al-Awlaki, the new face of Al-Qaeda in Yemen?

Saad Al-Awlaki is the new face of Al-Qaeda in Yemen

In a new turn within the ranks of Al-Qaeda in Yemen, the death of Khalid Batarfi, the previous leader of the organization, was announced, and Saad Al-Awlaki was appointed as the new leader.

Available information indicates that Ibrahim Al-Qousi, a prominent figure in the organization, confirmed these news in an audio recording. “Batarfi,” who took over in February 2020, was killed under mysterious circumstances, leaving “Al-Awlaki,” known as “Abu Al-Leith,” to succeed him. But who is he?

“Batarfi,” considered to be in his forties, had risen to the top leadership position of the organization after the death of the previous leader in a US drone strike. Before assuming leadership, he served as the spokesperson for Al-Qaeda and was designated by the United States as a global terrorist, with a bounty offered for any information about him.

Who is Al-Awlaki

As for Al-Awlaki, the new leader, he is a Yemeni figure with significance within the organization, believed to have been among those brought back from Afghanistan to Yemen on orders from Osama bin Laden. Al-Awlaki belongs to the Al-Awaliq tribe, with Anwar Al-Awlaki, also killed in a US drone strike, being one of its prominent members.

Saad bin Atef Al-Awlaki, also known as “Abu Al-Leith,” now assumes leadership of Al-Qaeda in Yemen. Of Yemeni nationality, he is said to have been among those brought back to Yemen by Osama bin Laden, the former Al-Qaeda leader killed by the US in 2011, from Afghanistan.

Al-Awlaki, hailing from the large Al-Awaliq tribe, the same tribe to which Anwar Al-Awlaki belonged, the spiritual mentor of Al-Qaeda killed in 2011, is now considered the fifth leader of Al-Qaeda in Yemen. He was born in the town of Al-Shabwa, in Shabwa province, and the US State Department estimates his date of birth to be on three possible dates: 1978, 1981, and 1983.

$6 million reward for information about him

According to the US State Department’s “Rewards for Justice” program, Al-Awlaki was a member of the organization’s consultative council, and the United States offers a reward of up to six million dollars for information about him. The US State Department indicates that Al-Awlaki publicly called for attacks against the United States and its allies. The United States considers Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has made Yemen its headquarters, as the most dangerous branch of Al-Qaeda, especially after the attempt to blow up a plane over the United States in 2009.

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