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Advanced Article Archive: Senior Al-Qaeda Figures
Terror Analysis: Al-Qaeda's Third in Command Interviewed

24.07.08

In an interview with Pakistani TV station Geo, Mustafa Ahmed Muhammad Uthman Abu al-Yazid AKA Sheikh Saeed, addressed several issues regarding Al-Qaeda's operational activities, and confirmed the organization was behind the June bombing of the Danish embassy in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. The complete interview can be found on Geo's official website.

Sheikh Saeed is part of the Egyptian contingent that seems to dominate al-Qaeda's high leadership. He served time in prison in the early 1980s for his involvement in the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and later on joined Ayman al-Zawahiri's Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ). He left Egypt for Afghanistan in 1988, and became acquainted with Osama Bin-Laden, and later even accompanied him to Sudan in 1991.

By 1996 Sheikh Saeed was a confidant of Bin-Laden, a senior al-Qaeda leader, a member of its "Shura Council" and the head of Al-Qaeda's Administrative and Financial Committee. He is believed to have supplied the funding for Muhammad Atta, the leader of the September 11 attackers.

Sheikh Saeed made a rare public appearance in a 45-minute interview released in May by al-Qaeda's Al -Sahab media group, after he was named the "official in general charge of the al-Qaeda organization in Afghanistan". It is our assessment that he is actually operating as the deputy de-facto of the organization while Ayman al-Zawahiri serves as the de-facto leader as Osama Bin Laden has probably became more of a symbolic figure.

 

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