(CNN) — An Egyptian who was once a Special Forces officer has been appointed “caretaker” leader of al Qaeda in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death, according to a source with detailed knowledge of the group’s inner workings.
Al Qaeda’s interim leader is Saif al-Adel, who has long played a prominent role in the group, according to Noman Benotman. Benotman has known the al Qaeda leadership for more than two decades. He was once a leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), a militant organization that used to be aligned with al Qaeda, but in recent years renounced al Qaeda’s ideology.
Benotman told CNN that based on his personal communications with militants and discussions on jihadist forums, al-Adel had been appointed interim chief of al Qaeda because the global jihadist community had grown restive in recent days about the lack of a formal announcement appointing a successor to bin Laden.