NBC News Sources: Key al-Qaida Figure Arrested At Cairo Airport
Updated at 8:09 a.m. ET: CAIRO, Egypt -- The suspected operational head of al-Qaida was arrested Wednesday at Cairo International Airport, Egyptian security sources told NBC News.
Mohammed Ibrahim Makkawi is also known as "Saif al-Adel," according to the FBI.
He is widely believed to have taken over as operational head of al-Qaida following the death of Osama bin Laden in May, NBC News reported. Ayman al-Zawahri replaced bin Laden as al-Qaida's leader and Makkawi is thought to have been put in charge of the tactical planning of attacks.
Makkawi was traveling to Egypt from Pakistan via the United Arab Emirates, sources told NBC News. He was detained upon arrival and handed over to Egyptian intelligence officials, NBC News said.
However, a senior U.S. official later told NBC News that it was unable to either confirm or deny whether al-Adel was in custody.
Saif al-Adel, an Egyptian, has been indicted by the United States for an alleged role in the Aug. 7, 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya that killed 224 people.
The FBI describes al-Adel as "a high-ranking member of the al-Qaida organization" and the State Department has offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to his arrest or conviction. click here to read more
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