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The most wanted Al Qaeda leaders hiding in Pakistan

Last updated on: May 5, 2011 09:32 IST

Ayman al-Zawahiri

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An Egyptian surgeon, who joined a jihadi cell when he was just 15. He even became the leader of a small group of student militants, who were dedicated to overthrow Gamel Abdel Nasser's regime. He met bin Laden in 1986, and made an impression on then then-younger and inexperienced Osama, and also realised that the latter was very wealthy, but ideologically malleable.

The friendship bloomed, and within two years, Osama was funding Zawahiri's militant group Al Jihad. The group is believed to have a hand in the 1998 bombings of United States embassies in Tanzania.

According to reports, Zawahiri is seen as Al Qaeda's most important ideological leader.  Experts believe that he was more instrumental in the 9/11 attacks than bin Laden.

Number two on the most wanted list until Osama was killed, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is offering upto $25 million on his capture. He is supposed to be hiding in the borderlands between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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Image: Osama bin Laden sits with Ayman al-Zawahiri
Photographs: Hamid Mir/Reuters
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Saif al-Adel

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He is another Egyptian believed to be a top ranking member of Al Qaeda. He was indicted by the United States for an alleged role in the 1998 bombings of United States embassies in Tanzania. It has been reported that he may now be the military commander of the terrorist group.

The reward for his capture is $5 million.

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Image: Saif al-Adel
Photographs: Reuters
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Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah

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He is also an Egyptian, who has reportedly played an important role in setting up terrorist training facilities in Somalia. He also has had a hand in helping Saif al-Adel provide military intelligence and training Al Quaeda members in Sudan. His current whereabouts are unknown, though he was previously believed to be hiding in Iran or Somalia.

The reward for his capture is $5 million.

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Image: Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah
Photographs: Reuters
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Rashid Rauf

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He is a dual citizen of Britain and Pakistan, and was arrested in connection with the 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot, but later released on charges of forgery and possession of explosives by a Rawalpindi court.

Believed to be dead until last year, media reports have said that he is alive and well, and lives in Waziristan. Though Pakistani and the Central Intelligence Agency maintain that he was killed in a US drone attack in 2008. His last known role with Al Qaeda was as its chief financial officer.

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Image: Rashid Rauf is pictured entering the courtroom in the civil court in Rawalpindi
Photographs: Faisal Mahmood/Reuters
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Ilyas Kashmiri

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He was an active participant in the Soviet-Afghan war in the 1980s, training Afghan mujahideen in mine warfare. It is during this war that he is believed to have lost an eye and a finger.

Kashmiri leads the Harakat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, which is accused of launching several terrorist attacks in both India and Pakistan. His group is believed to have lent fighters for the Taliban in Afghanistan. He is also a key suspect in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

The reward for his capture is $5 million.


Image: 40-year-old Ilyas Kashmiri heads the Pakistan-based terror group Harkat-ul-Jehad-Islami
Photographs: Mian Kursheed/Reuters
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