Al-Qaida, which means "the Base" in Arabic, is a global Sunni Islamist militant group founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network of radical Sunni Muslims who seek a global jihad. Since its formation, al-Qaida has attacked civilian and military targets in various countries, such as the September 11 attacks, 1998 US embassy bombings and 2002 Bali bombings.
The dangerous organization remains active today, with approximately 150 current members . Among them, these are the eight most wanted.
Adnan G. El Shukrijumah was indicted in the Eastern District of New York in July of 2010 for his alleged role in a terrorist plot to attack targets in the United States and the United Kingdom. The charges reveal that the plot against New York City's subway system, uncovered in September of 2009, was directed by senior al-Qaida leadership in Pakistan, and was also directly related to a scheme by al-Qaida plotters in Pakistan to use Western operatives to attack a target in the United States. El Shukrijumah is thought to have served as one of the leaders of al-Qaida's external operations program. [Are We Safer Today than on 9/11? ]
Adam Yahiye Gadahn grew up in California and converted to Islam as a teenager. He moved to Pakistan in 1998 and became a propagandist for bin Laden's terrorist organization. He was indicted in the Central District of California in 2006 for treason and material support to al-Qaida. [Where Do Murderous Tendencies Come From? ]
Ayman Al-Zawahiri has been indicted for his alleged role in the August 7, 1998, bombings of the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya.
Al-Zawahiri is a physician and the founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ). This organization opposes the secular Egyptian Government and seeks its overthrow through violent means. Around 1998, the EIJ led by Al-Zawahiri merged with al-Qaida. Al-Zawahiri is the most likely successor of Osama bin Laden. [How Much Did it Cost to Kill Osama bin Laden? ]
Jaber A. Elbaneh is wanted in connection with a federal criminal complaint unsealed on May 21, 2003, in the Western District of New York, Buffalo, New York. He is charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization and conspiring to provide material support, specifically to al-Qaida. Elbaneh is believed to have fled the United States and is still thought to be outside the country. [Why Are Terrorist Claims of Responsibility So Hard to Verify? ]
Abdul Rahman Yasin is wanted for his alleged participation in the terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center, New York City, on February 26, 1993, which resulted in six deaths, the wounding of numerous individuals, and the significant destruction of property and commerce. Yasin is an epileptic.
Saif Al-Adel is wanted in connection with the August 7, 1998, bombings of the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya.
Al-Adel is thought to be affiliated with the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), and is believed to be a high-ranking member of the al-Qaida organization.
Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah has been indicted for his alleged involvement in the August 7, 1998, bombings of the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya.
Abdullah fled Nairobi, Kenya, on August 6, 1998, and went to Karachi, Pakistan.
Anwar al-Awlaki is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Yemen, of Yemeni descent. He is an Islamic lecturer, spiritual leader, and former imam who serves as a senior talent recruiter, planner and trainer for al-Qaida. With a blog, a Facebook page, and many YouTube videos, he has been described as the "bin Laden of the Internet," and is believed by some to be a possible successor to Osama bin Laden.
Al-Awlaki has not yet officially been added to the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list, but in April 2011, President Barrack Obama approved his targeted killing by the CIA, making him the first U.S. citizen ever placed on the CIA target list. Predator drones are currently being used to pursue him in southeast Yemen.