Top Terrorists – Dead, Captured, and Wanted
April 28, 2012
As the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death approaches, CNN has updated this list, originally published in September 2011, taking a look at some of the dead, captured and the remaining most wanted terrorists from the last 10 years.
While progress has been made, there are still terrorists being saught by the U.S. government. CNN spoke with a number of intelligence agencies to come up with this list of “dirty dozens.” Here are the 12 most significant terrorists who are now dead, have been captured and those who are still being hunted. The lists are obviously subjective–there are many more candidates–but these are some of the top combatants in the war on terror.
(NOTE: Pictures of terrorists were omitted for ease of publication)
1. Osama Bin Laden
Founder and leader of al Qaeda, responsible for the 9/11 attacks against the US as well as numerous other mass casualty attacks. He was killed by US Navy Seals during a raid on his compound in Abbottabad,Pakistan in May 2011
2. Muhammad Atef
Founding member and military chief of al Qaeda. He was killed by a US airstrike during early fighting in Afghanistan in November 2001
3. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
A militant jihadist who opposed US presence in the Middle East and had a profound hatred for Israel. He formed his own terrorist group, Tawhid wal-Jihad. In 2004, he pledged alliance to al Qaeda and changed the name of his group to al Qaeda in Iraq. He was responsible for hundreds of attacks in Iraq. US bombs killed Zarqawi in Iraq in June 2006.
4. Abu Layth al-Libi
Senior al Qaeda military commander who planned attacks against US and coalition forces in Afghanistan including a 2007 bombing of the Bagram Air Base during a visit by then Vice President Richard Cheney. He was killed in a drone attack in Pakistan in March 2008
5. Atiyah Abd al-Rahman
Until his recent death, he was the number 2 to al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and was a key facilitator with al Qaeda affiliates. Materials seized in the Bin Laden compound showed Rahman was in frequent contact with Bin Laden. He was killed by a drone strike in Pakistan in August 2011
6. Abu Hamza Rabia
Third ranking member of al Qaeda who replaced Muhammad Atef after his death. He served as an operational planner for attacks against the US and was killed by a drone strike in Pakistan in November 2005
7. Abu Ayyub al Masri
Replaced Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as leader of al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and the insurgency in Iraq. He was killed in a joint US/Iraq operation in April 2010
8. Sayeed al-Masri (also known as Abu Shaykh Mustafa Abu al-Yazid)
Number 3 in al Qaeda hierarchy, commander of operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and chief financial officer. He was killed in drone strike in Pakistan in May 2010
9. Mohammad Hasan Khalil al-Hakim
Senior operational manager, deputy chief of external operations, head of propaganda for al Qaeda. He was killed by a drone strike in Pakistan in October 2008
10. Abu Khabab al-Masri (also known as Midhat Mursi)
Al Qaeda’s chief bomb maker and chemical weapons expert. He was killed in a drone attack in Pakistan in July 2008
11. Abu Obeidah al Masri
Senior al Qaeda operative who was implicated in the 2006 Trans-Atlantic plot to bomb commercial airliners after take off from London. He died of natural causes in December 2007
12. Anwar al-Awlaki
Yemeni American, Muslim cleric who advocated violent jihad against the United States. He was connected to two of the 9/11 hijackers as well as the accused Ft. Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Milik Hasan and suspected underwear bomber Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab. He was considered an operational leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen. A CIA drone strike killed Awlaki in September 2011.
1. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM)
Third ranking member of al Qaeda, operational planner and mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. He was captured in Pakistan in March 2003, and is held at Guantanamo Bay (GITMO), Cuba
2. Abu Faraj al-Libi
Replaced KSM after his capture, directed operations against US and coalition forces in Afghanistan, planned 2003 assassination attempt against then Pakistani President Pervez Musharref. He was captured in May 2005 and is held at GITMO
3. Ramzi Bin al-Shibh
Involved in planning of 9/11 attacks, associated with some of the 9/11 hijackers, believed to have been targeted to be the 20th hijacker but was unable to get into the US. He was captured in September 2002 and is held at GITMO
4. Abu Zubaydah
Initially believed to be a high ranking al Qaeda leader, but the US later concluded he held a much lesser position. He was captured in Pakistan in March 2002 and is held at GITMO.
5. Umar Patek
Connected to the 2002 Bali nightclub bombing which killed more than 200 people including 7 Americans. He was captured by Pakistani forces in January 2011 and sent to Indonesia
6. Younis al-Mauretani
A key planner for al Qaeda who is believed to have had direct contact with Osama Bin Laden and was involved in planning attacks in Europe. He was captured by Pakistani forces in September 2011 and is held by the Pakistanis.
7. Hambali (also Riduan Isamuddin)
Operations Chief for the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiya (JI), often described as Bin Laden’s leader in Southeast Asia, believed to be connected to a number of deadly bombing attacks in Indonsia. He was captured in a joint US/Thai operation in Thailand in August 2003 and is held at GITMO
8. al Rahim al Nashiri
Head of al Qaeda operations in the Persian Gulf, believed to be the mastermind of the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000 which killed 17 US sailors. He was captured in November 2002 and is held at GITMO
9. Ali al Aziz Ali
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s nephew and chief deputy who helped train some of the 9/11 hijackers. He was captured in April 2003 and is held at GITMO
10. Walid bin Attash
Former Bin Laden body guard, assisted 9/11 hijackers, helped with preparations for the 1998 bombings of the US Embassies in East Africa and the 2000 attack on the USS Cole. He was captured in April 2003 and is held at GITMO
11. Mustafa Ahman al Hawsawi
Worked with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed on numerous al Qaeda plots including providing assistance to 9/11 hijackers. He was captured with KSM in March 2003 in Pakistan and is held in GITMO
12. Abdul Ghani Baradar
A founder of Afghan Taliban, deputy to leader Mullah Omar, directed the insurgency against US and coalition forces from Pakistan. He was captured by Pakistani and American intelligence forces in February 2010 and is held by the Pakistanis
1. Ayman al-Zawahiri
A physician, long time deputy to Osama Bin Laden who recently was named leader of al Qaeda following Bin Laden’s death. He has been seen and heard in numerous al Qaeda videos and audio tapes on the web. He is on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list, was indicted in the U.S. for his role in the 1998 bombings of the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania
2. Saif al-Adel
A member of the senior leadership of al Qaeda who is believed to be in Iran. He is on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list and was indicted by the U.S. in connection with the 1998 bombings of the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania
3. Anas al-Liby
A computer expert for al Qaeda who is on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list, and has been indicted for his role in the 1998 bombings of the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
4. Ibrahim al-Asiri
Suspected of being the chief bombmaker for AQAP, Asiri is believed to be responsible for designing the explosive devices used in the unsuccessful Christmas Day 2009 plot to blow up a US airliner as it landed in Detroit and in the cargo plane bomb plot in 2010.
5. Adnan el Shukrijumah
A senior leader of al Qaeda’s external operations program who is on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list and has been indicted by the U.S. in the 2009 plot to attack the New York City subway system as well as targets in the United Kingdom.
6. Hakimullah Mehsud
A leader of the Pakistan Taliban with close ties to al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban. He claimed responsibility for the 2009 bombing a the Khost Forward Operating Base which killed 7 CIA employees. He is on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list.
7. Abu Yahy al-Libi
Islamic scholar, high ranking member of al Qaeda, seen as the public face of al Qaeda, appearing frequently in internet videos
8. Adam Gadahn
American propagandist for al Qaeda who is frequently seen on al Qaeda website videos. He is on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists List and has been indicted for treason and material support for al Qaeda.
9. Mullah Mohammad Omar
Leader of the Afghanistan Taliban who allowed Osama Bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven in Afghanistan when the Taliban controlled the country prior to the 9/11 terrorist attack on the U.S.
10. Nasser Al Wahishi
Leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), former private secretary to Osama Bin Laden. He has vowed to avenge Bin Laden’s death.
11. Sirajuddin Haqqani
Senior leader of the Haqqani network in Afghanistan which maintains close ties to al Qaeda and who is believed to have planned an assassination attempt against Afghani President Hamid Karzai
12. Wali Ur Rehman
Senior member of Pakistani Taliban who has participated in cross border attacks against US and coalition forces in Afghanistan
(Pam Benson, CNN)
Missed in this List is Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, leader of the terror group Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, and responsible for the terror attack in Mumbai. A number of other well known terrorists are found on