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Wednesday, 19 December, 2001, 00:23 GMT
Al-Qaeda's new military chief
Osama Bin Laden (left), Saif Al-Adel, and the FBI logo
Saif al-Adel is on the FBI's "most wanted" list
Saif al-Adel, a high-ranking member of the al-Qaeda network, is believed to have taken over as military commander of the organisation following the reported death of Muhammed Atef.

A former colonel in the Egyptian army special forces, Adel is on the FBI's "most wanted terrorists" list, with a reward of up to $25m for information leading directly to his capture.

Muhammed Atef
Atef was reported killed in November
The United States accuses him of helping to mastermind the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224 people and wounded thousands.

He is also suspected of teaching militants to use explosives, and training some of the 11 September hijackers.

In 1987, Egypt accused Adel - whose real name is Muhamad Ibrahim Makkawi - of trying to establish a military wing of the militant Islamic group al-Jihad, and of trying to overthrow the government.

But Cairo failed to prove its case against Adel, who fled the country in 1988.

Little personal information about Adel is available, but he is believed to be associated with Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the group that assassinated President Anwar Sadat in 1981 as retribution for making peace with Israel.

Media role

Adel, born in either 1960 or 1963, is believed to have been head of al-Qaeda's media committee.

He is thought to have arranged the filming of videos by Osama Bin Laden that have been broadcast internationally.

The US accuses him of training the Somali fighters who killed 18 US servicemen in Mogadishu in 1993.

They have been seeking him since that incident.

Atef, who is thought to have been killed in US bombing near Kabul in mid-November, was also suspected of involvement in the embassy bombings and Mogadishu fighting.

Dr Mustafa Alani, an expert on Islamic extremism at Britain's Royal United Services Institute, told BBC News Online that he considers Mr Adel "not as capable" as Atef, the man he replaced.

See also:

18 Dec 01 | South Asia
US names al-Qaeda 'most wanted'
27 Nov 01 | South Asia
Analysis: What next for al-Qaeda?
16 Nov 01 | South Asia
Profile: Muhammed Atef
13 Jun 01 | Americas
US embassy bomber gets life
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