(CNN) - An Egyptian who was once a Special Forces officer has been chosen "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, also known as Muhamad Ibrahim Makkawi, had been chosen interim chief of al Qaeda because the global jihadist community had grown restive in recent days about the lack of a formal announcement of a successor to bin Laden.
According to Benotman, this was not a decision of the formal shura council of al Qaeda, because it is currently impossible to gather them in one place, but was rather the decision of six to eight leaders of al Qaeda in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area. Al-Adel was already one of the top leaders of the group.
However, Benotman said, the choice of an Egyptian may not sit well with some Saudi and Yemeni members of al Qaeda, who believe bin Laden's successor should come from the Arabian Peninsula, a region that is holy to all Muslims. Bin Laden was from a wealthy Saudi family.
The presumed successor to bin Laden is his long-time deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is also Egyptian. Benotman, who has long been a reliable source of information about al Qaeda, said the temporary appointment of al-Adel may be a way for the leadership to gauge reaction to the selection of someone from beyond the Arabian Peninsula as the group's leader.FULL STORY
(CNN) - The first words that were used to describe Tim by almost anybody who knew him were "humble" and "modest."
Yet, Tim was a guy who had great talents. He took highly artistic photos and had released a photography book "Infidel," which consists of his portraits of American soldiers fighting in the Afghan War.
He was also someone who would go out in the field and take the grittiest pictures of combat.
For one of those photographs he won the World Press Photo award in 2007. The photo showed an exhausted, battle-weary GI resting in a bunker in northern Afghanistan, an apt metaphor for what was then fast-becoming the longest war in American history.
Tim had also gone to Oxford to study literature, something he never mentioned in the long days we spent talking when we were embedded with a group of Marines in southern Afghanistan in September 2009 while working together on stories for CNN.FULL STORY
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