Egypt says it arrested al Qaeda leader
A leading member of the extremist group al-Qaeda reportedly was arrested in Cairo International Airport, where he was traveling on an Emirates Airline flight, according to airport officials.
The officials said they had detained Egyptian-born Mohammed Ibrahim Makkawi, and identified him as the senior al-Qaeda leader known as Saif al-Adel (the “sword of justice” in Arabic).
But a lawyer who represents clients from Jihadist groups, including the brother of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, denied that Makkawi was Adel and said that airport authorities had detained the wrong man.
Makkawi, a former Egyptian military officer, was dishonorably discharged for joining Jihadist fighters in the 1980s, the lawyer, Nizar Ghorab, said. He was arrested and imprisoned by Egyptian authorities but later fled to Afghanistan. For a very short time he was connected to al-Qaeda, Ghoran said, but he severed his ties years ago.
Ghorab said he expected Makkawi, who had traveled to Egypt from Pakistan via Dubai, to be released within hours.
Adel, for his part, is on the FBI’s most-wanted list for the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, in 1998. The FBI has offered a $5 million reward for his arrest.
Adel — who in recent years was believed to be living in Iran under house arrest — was briefly Osama bin Laden’s security chief, overseeing its military operations, and remains a senior member of the extremist organization.
...I would be surprised and disappointed if Egypt released this guy. He probably would rather be at Gitmo than a prisoner in Egypt where he might be roasted on spit to get him to talk. It is an opportunity to get some high level intelligence that we have been missing because of Obama's killer drone attacks.