An official from the United States Intelligence Community stated on Tuesday that the successor of Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was believed to have been killed in an operation conducted by the United States last year, is still unknown.
The death of Zawahiri in an attack carried out by the United States in Afghanistan was the most devastating blow to the terrorist organisation since the death of its founder, Osama bin Laden, in 2011.
“The question for Al Qaeda, that it has not answered for itself, is who follows (Zawahiri),” Christine Abizaid, director of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, said in an event organised by the Washington Institute when asked about Al Qaeda’s “center of gravity” after Zawahiri’s death.
Zawahiri has remained covert for a number of years. No one has been chosen to take over as leader of Al Qaeda.
Experts agree that Saif al-Adel, a shadowy and low-key former Egyptian special forces officer who is now a high-ranking member of Al Qaeda, is the most likely candidate to take the reins of the organization. The United States of America will pay a reward of up to ten million dollars for information that leads to the capture of this individual.
Abizaid also addressed the security landscape in the United States and stated that the country faced an “unpredictable” climate. He said that the people of the United States must be watchful against overseas-based terrorist organisations such as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.
“The majority of radicalisation occurs in the online environment,” she claims.
According to Abizaid, lone actors remained a critical concern for the United States. He stated that these individuals could be influenced by extremist groups based in other countries or motivated by racially and ethnically motivated violent domestic extremism.
Her comments echoed a recent assessment made by the Department of Homeland Security, which said in November that the threat environment in the United States will remain heightened in the coming months, with lone offenders and groups motivated by a range of ideologies posing a threat. Her remarks came after the Department of Homeland Security said in November that the threat environment in the United States will remain heightened in the coming months.