Though the death of Osama bin-Laden is a key victory for the United States, al-Qaida still remains. "[Bin-Laden's] death does not mark the end of our effort," said President Obama in his address on May, 1. "There's no doubt that al-Qaida will continue to pursue attacks against us." The vacancy among al-Qaida's ranks leaves the question of who will be the next name American's will be concerned about. There are many prominent al-Qaida officials who may take the fallen leader's place. The following is a list of well-known members of al-Qaida who could be potential candidates.
Fazul Abdullah Mohammed is said to be the head of al-Qaeda in East Africa. Mohammed is wanted in connection with a bombing of a US Embassy in 1998.
According to an MSNBC.com report on terrorism in 2008, al-Qurashi was an aide to bin-Laden and sees himself as an al-Qaida intellectual, propagandist and writer.
Ahmad Mohammad ali al-Hada is the head of a large family whose members were involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. He has been described as "a prominent al-Qaida member."
Though the United States government has reported his death twice, al-Walid, a veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, is thought to be alive and possibly in Iran. He is said to be one of bin-Laden's top aides and has been sought out since the Sept. 11 attacks.
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith is the official spokesman for al-Qaida. No one knows where he is currently. He was allegedly imprisoned in Iran, but Kuwaiti officials speculate that he was released to return to Afghanistan. After being banned from giving sermons at a mosque in Kuwait, he became a high school religion teacher. He left Kuwait for Afghanistan where he met Osama bin-Laden and joined al-Qaida in 2000.
In the photo: (From left) Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Muhammad Atef
Abu Yahya al-Libi is not only a high-ranking member of al-Qaida, but is also believed to be a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. Al-Libi escaped from an American prison in Afghanistan, and his fame amongst jihadists has been increasing since. It was thought that al-Libi was killed by a U.S. Drone strike in Pakistan in 2009, but the body was later identified as someone else.
As a cleric, he is considered to be "the scholar" of al-Qaida and takes on the role of preacher. Al-Libi has released a number of video sermons in an attempt to recruit.
Saif al-Adel succeeded Mohamed Atef as al-Qaida's chief military strategist, making him one of al-Qaida's top operatives. Saif al-Din is also thought to be associated with the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ). He allegedly wanted to fly a plane into the Egyptian Parliament. He provided military training to al-Qaeda in various countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sudan. He also trained anti-UN Somali tribes and established an al-Qaida training facility in Ras Kamboni, Somalia.
Ayman al-Zawahiri serves as al-Qaida's chief commander. He led the organization while Osama bin-Laden remained in hiding. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's most wanted terrorist list, Zawahiri is an Egyptian physician who founded the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), which seeks to overthrow the Egyptian Government by violent means. The EIJ eventually merged with al-Qaeda. He considered a contender for the position as the new leader of al-Qaida.