IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Al-Qaida: Dead or captured

A timeline of the Al-Qaida members who are dead or are in the custody.
/ Source: and NBC News

A timeline of the Al-Qaida members who are dead or are in the custody.

--July 2, 1993

Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, one of bin Laden’s mentors, is arrested at a Brooklyn mosque on charges that he was part of the plot to blow up New York monuments and the first bombing of the World Trade Center.

--Feb. 7, 1995

Ramzi Yousef is captured by officers of the FBI, DEA and that State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service in Room 16 of the Su Casa Guesthouse in Islamabad, Pakistan. The arrest is the result of a tip from a religious studies student Yousef was trying to recruit. He told the student of  a plan to place bombs in cargo to be carried on board United and American Airlines jets flying out of Bangkok. Hours before the arrest, U.S. officials watch as Yousef and a friend tour the city. The friend, it is later learned, is Khalid Sheik Mohammed, his uncle and the man who later becomes the mastermind of Sept. 11. On hearing of the arrest, Mohammed quickly leaves the city.

--November 1995

Around the time of the attack on the Saudi National Guard Communications Center in central Riyadh, four Yemeni mercenaries, apparently in the employ of Saudi intelligence, attempts to assassinate bin Laden.  The mercenaries alight from a Toyota Hi-Lux pickup truck a few feet from bin Laden’s home in Khartoum and engage in a firefight with security guards. Three of the attackers and two of the guards are killed, but bin Laden emerges unscathed. Working with Sudanese intelligence, al-Qaida security chief Ali Mohammed increases security at the compound.

--May 21, 1996

Al-Qaida's military commander, Abu Ubaidah al-Banshiri,  is one of 1,000 people who drown in a ferry accident on Africa's Lake Victoria, which lies between Kenya and Tanzania.  Al-Banshiri is replaced by Ali Muhammed.

--Aug. 8-15, 1998

In roundups around the world, those believed responsible for the embassy bombing trials are rounded up and brought to New York for eventual trial.

--Aug. 20, 1998

The United States fires more than 70 cruise missiles against targets in Afghanistan and Sudan, focusing on two terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and a purported chemical weapons plant in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. More than 20 terrorists are killed in Afghanistan, the majority of them Pakistanis sent to the camp for training by Pakistan's intelligence service, the ISI.

--Sept. 10, 1998

Ali Mohammed, bin Laden’s former security director and a former member of U.S. special forces, is arrested in the United States, although he is not charged for another eight months, during which his capture goes unreported. One of the most important al-Qaida leaders captured to date, he ultimately reveals details of bin Laden’s security, plans for attacks in countries around the world, and how bin Laden had met with Hezbollah officials in 1994. Mohammed also reveals how he had served both the U.S. military and Zawahiri’s Egyptian Islamic Jihad during the 1980’s and early 1990’s, a time when he was briefing U.S. soldiers before they went overseas on assignment.

--Sept. 20, 1998

Wadih el-Hage, bin Laden’s private secretary in Sudan, is arrested in Arlington, Texas.  An American citizen with an American wife, el-Hage is charged with perjury for lying to a grand jury on Sept. 15 about his relationships with some of the men suspected in the East Africa embassy bombing.   He is later convicted of that and charges he was part of the embassy bombing.

--Sept. 20, 1998

Khalid al Fauwaz, in charge of al-Qaida operations in England through the Advice and Reformation Committee, is arrested and charged with conspiracy in the East Africa embassy bombings, specifically his role in helping finance the operation and target and surveile the embassy.  He is to be extradited to the United States to stand trial, although he remains in a British jail appealing the extradition order.

--June 7, 1999

Bin Laden is placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List and a $5 million reward is offered for his capture. The amount of the reward is raised to $25 million after the Sept. 11 attacks.

--Sept. 26, 2001

CIA Special Activities Division personnel arrive in Afghanistan with plans to kill or capture al-Qaida operatives.

--Oct. 7, 2001

U.S. bombing of Afghanistan begins with a presidential address to the nation.  The attacks involve massive bombing, insertion of U.S. troops and operational support for opponents to the Taliban.

--Oct. 2001

Rifa’I Taha Musa, former leader of the Egyptian Islamic Group’s military wing, is quietly extradited from Syria to Egypt after being arrested at Damascus Airport.  Shortly after arriving in Egypt, he was executed, say Egyptian security officials. One of the signers of a bin Laden-Zawahiri fatwa calling for the killing of Americans, Taha had appeared with bin Laden and Zawahiri in a videotape released in September 2000, just prior to the bombing of the USS Cole.  Six days after the bombing, Taha praised the bombers, saying “"Our officers and soldiers, and the sons of our people in Egypt, should learn the lesson of the U.S. destroyer in Aden; they have the Suez Canal through which dozens of U.S. and Jewish ships pass."  

--Nov. 12, 2001

An Islamic militant leader who threatened the government of Uzbekistan and who was a key ally of bin Laden is killed in northern Afghanistan. Juma Namangani, 32, was head of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a group with close ties to al-Qaida.  He was fatally injured during fighting for the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, where the Taliban were routed on Nov. 9. He died days later as a result of his wounds.

--Nov. 17, 2001

Mohamed Atef, al-Qaida's military chief and a man viewed as no lower than No. 3 in the terrorist group, is killed by a Predator missile as he meets with Taliban and al-Qaida officials in Afghanistan. He remains the highest-ranking al-Qaida official killed in the U.S. war on terrorism. Atef was also related through marriage to bin Laden, his daughter having married bin Laden's son, Mohamed, in January.

--Late December 2001

Ibn Al-Shaykh al-Libi, director of al-Qaida's Khalden terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, is captured in Pakistan after fleeing across the border.  He is first taken first to a ship, the USS Bataan, off the Pakistan coast. His arrest later leads to the capture of Abu Zubaydah.

--March 19, 2002

Khattab, a Jordanian Islamist with ties to al-Qaida, is killed in Chechnya by Russian troops.  He was killed by a poisoned letter slipped him by Russia's Federal Security Service, said rebel leaders.  Khattab, the nom de guerre for Omar Ibn al Khattab, had fought with Chechen rebels since 1995 and was seen as their most effective guerrilla fighter.  He dismissed claims that he was working with bin Laden, but admitted that he had fought with him in Afghanistan against Soviet troops during the 1980’s.

--March 28, 2002

Abu Zubaydah, the training chief for al-Qaida, is severely wounded as he is captured in Faisalabad, Pakistan.  He becomes the first major al-Qaida leader captured. His arrest leads to the arrests of Ramzi bin-al-shibh in September as well as Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Mustapha Ahmed al-Hawsawi in March 2003.

--June 8, 2002

As part of an investigation into planned Gibraltar attacks, Abu Zubair al-Haili, a 300-pound Saudi nicknamed “the Bear” is captured in Morocco. Moroccan officials said Al-Haili is connected to a plot to bomb U.S. and British warships crossing the Strait of Gibraltar, between Morocco and Spain. Al-Haili is believed to have run terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, and is viewed as director of al-Qaida’s North Africa operations.  Seven other Saudis were arrested in connection with the alleged plot.

--June 2002

Omar al Farouq, described variously as al-Qaida’s top man or chief facilitator in South East Asia is captured in an unnamed Asian nation and turned over to U.S. authorities for questioning.  In early September, he tells his interrogators of a plan to blow up U.S. embassies in Asia when security is reduced, leading to the Sept. 10, 2002 “yellow” alert. 

--June 21, 2002

Abu Sabaya, leader of Abu Sayyaf, the al-Qaida-linked Philippine terrorist group, was killed when he was wounded, jumped off a boat and drowned.  The boat, carrying other Abu Sayyaf leaders, was attacked by the Philippine navy off the coast of southern Zamboanga peninsula.  He  was the most prominent leader of the Abu Sayyaf, which claims to be fighting for a Muslim homeland in the south of the Philippines.

--Sept. 11, 2002 [News breaks Sept. 13]

Ramzi bin al-Shibh, the organizer of the Hamburg cell which carried out the Sept. 11 attacks, is captured in Karachi. The news is announced two days after the one-year anniversary commemorations.  Two Pakistani soldiers are wounded in the attack on Bin al-Shibh's apartment building in a residential district populated by university students.

--Early October 2002

Saif al Islam el Masry, a member of al-Qaida's Shura, or consultative council, is among 15 Arabs captured in raids by Georgian special forces in the Pankisi Gorge, a lawless enclave where Arabs and others fighting with Chechen rebels are hiding. U.S. Special Operations Forces and intelligence worked with the Georgians in the arrest.  El Masry, an Egyptian, was trained both by al-Qaida and Hezbollah. According to the U.S. federal indictment of Enaam Arnaout, executive director of the Benevolence International Foundation in Illinois, Al Islam served as an officer of Benevolence's Chechen branch. Saif al Islam el Masry fought against U.S. special forces in Somalia

--Late October 2002 [News breaks on Nov. 22]

Abd Al-Rahim al-Nashiri, director of Persian Gulf operations for al-Qaida and leading explosives expert, is captured somewhere in the Persian Gulf. Referred to by intelligence officials as a "big fish," news of his capture is held for more than two weeks. Al-Nashiri was one of the first al Qaida recruits, having been close to bin Laden for 15 years.

--Oct. 25, 2002

A Muslim cleric, Abu Qatada,  who had been named by UK authorities as being an al-Qaida fixer based in London and by a Spanish judge as al-Qaida’s European spiritual leader, is arrested by British authorities in London after being on the run for several months. He has been sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment in Jordan for a series of terrorist offences most prominently the plot to kill American tourists at three sites near Amman around the time of the millennium.

--Nov. 3, 2002

Qaed Senyan al-Harthi, al-Qaida's main man in Yemen, is killed by the Hellfire missile fired by a Predator as he was tracked in a car traveling across the desert in the Marib area of northwest Yemen along with five of his associates.  He was believed to have played a key role in the USS Cole bombing.  One of those killed is linked to the “Lackawanna Six,” six Yemeni men from Buffalo who eventually plead guilty to aiding terrorists.

--March 1, 2003

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, chief of operations for al-Qaida and mastermind of Sept. 11 attacks, is captured in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. He is the target of the raid, but is not the only one arrested. Later, the United States realizes that the other man is Mustapha Ahmed al-Hawasi, financial chief of al-Qaida and the money man for Sept. 11 attacks. It is the biggest capture since the start of the war on terrorism.

--March 15, 2003

Yasir al Jaziri, a Morrocan citizen described as a key aide to Khalid Sheik Mohammed, is arrested in the posh Lahore district of Gulberg by U.S. and Pakistani intelligence.  Al Jaziri’s responsibilities include managing al-Qaida’s legitimate business activities.   U.S.-educated, he is described as a “computer whiz.”  His two laptop computers and a number of CD-ROMs are seized in the raid. 

--April 29, 2003 [News breaks May 1]

Tawfiq Attash Khallad, director of South Asian operations for al-Qaida and mastermind of the USS Cole attack, is captured in Karachi.  Information developed during the interrogation of Khailid Sheikh Mohammed two months earlier is believed to have played a role in Khallad's capture. Also netted in the raids is a nephew of Sheikh Mohammed.

--May 28, 2003

Ali Abd al-Rahman al-Faqasi al-Ghamdi, top al-Qaida operative in Saudi Arabia, is captured in Medina, Saudi Arabia. Al-Ghamdi, believed to be the mastermind of the May 12 attacks in Riyadh, had been sought both before and after the attacks. 

--June 2003

Khaled Jehani, reputed to be key al-Qaida operative in Saudi Arabia, having taken over command of the Saudi cell after the Saudis captured or killed his superiors in the wake of the Riyadh attacks.  Identified by some as mastermind of Riyadh bombings.  Left Saudi Arabia at age 18, fought in Bosnia and Chechnya.  Returned to Saudi Arabia via Yemen, following 9/11 attacks.  Veteran of both the Afghan terror camps and battles against Soviet and U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Appears in an al-Qaida martyrdom tape retrieved by U.S. during Afghan war kissing his gun. 

--Aug. 12, 2003 [News breaks Aug. 15]

Riduan Isamuddin, aka Hambali, director of al-Qaida operations in South East Asia and mastermind of the Bali bombings as well as the week-old Marriott Hotel bombing in Jakarta, is captured in Malaysia. The first major capture of an al-Qaida leader in Southeast Asia, it is announced by President Bush at a military base. 

--Sept. 23, 2003

In what senior U.S. intelligence officials describe as "a major development" in the war on terror, Saudi officials kill a "rising star" in al-Qaida, one recently sought by the FBI as someone who may have been plotting attacks against the United States.  Zubayr al-Rimi, 29, is killed in a Saudi raid on a safe house in Jizan, in the south of the kingdom. The FBI issued a bulletin seeking information on al Rimi and three others on Sept. 5.  At the time, the FBI issued the bulletin, it said it had done so out of fear the men might have been plotting an operation in the United States. Al Rimi was listed first in the bulletin.

--Oct. 2, 2003

Ahmed Said Khadr, an al-Qaida financier, had dealings with senior al-Qaida leaders while running a charity, Human Concern.  The charity was financed in part by the Canadian International Development Agency.  CIDA gave $325,000 to Human Concern between 1980 and 1997.  Khadr had contact with Bin Laden from at least 1988.  Canadian intelligence agents claim that in 1995 he funneled money through Human Concern to finance the al-Qaida bombing of the Egyptian embassy in Pakistan that was orchestrated by Al Zawahiri.  Seventeen died.  Only after the blast did CIDA cut out its grant sot Human Concern.  Ahmed Khadr was arrested in Pakistan in 1995 but was released in 1996 following what Canada’s National Post described as “an extraordinary intervention” by Prime Minister Jean Chretien during a state visit to Islamabad.  Two of his sons fought against the U.S. in Afghanistan and were captured.

--Oct. 2, 2003

Abu Mohammed, “emir” of the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement, is killed in a Pakistani-led raid on an Al-Qaida camp in south Waziristan in northeastern Pakistan.  The Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement is an organization that includes components in Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, and the Xinjiang Province of China. The ETIM's aim is the establishment of a fundamentalist Muslim state to be called "East Turkistan." To that end, from 1990 to 2001 elements of the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement have reportedly committed over 200 acts of terrorism, resulting in at least 162 deaths and over 440 injuries. ETIM has a close financial relationship with al-Qaida and many of its members' received terrorist training in Afghanistan, financed by al-Qaida and the Taliban.

--Oct. 12, 2003

Fathur al-Ghozi, a bombmaker for the al-Qaida-linked terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, is killed in a shootout with a joint Philippine police-military team.  One of Asia’s most-wanted terror suspects, al-Ghozi was shot when security forces tried to stop a van with two men on board in the southern town of Pigkawayan.  The death of al Ghozi, an Indonesian, ended a massive three-month manhunt launched after his stunning escape from Philippine police headquarters in Manila.

--Nov. 25, 2003

Mohammad Hamdi al-Ahdal, also known as Abu Asem al-Macci, is captured in Yemen.   He is described as a "senior al Qaeda affiliated facilitator" in Yemen, who was apparently not picked up with US help.   Press accounts over the past  year have identified him as the successor to the top al Qaeda figure in Yemen, Qaed Salim Sunian al-Harithi. The CIA killed al-Harithi last November 2 with a Hellfire missile fired from a unmanned Predator drone.  He is "possibly" related to the attack on the USS Cole in Oct 2000 that killed 17 US sailors, say US intelligence officials.  Owner of al Hamati Sweets and al-Nur Honey, Al-Hamati operated out of  the Hadramat Governate of Yemen.  Al-Nur was located in Sana’a, the Yemeni capital.

--June 12, 2004

Mussad Aruchi, an Al-Qaeda operative linked to a June 10 attack on a Pakistani corps commander that killed 11 soldiers, is captured in Karachi, the first in a series of interconnected raids and arrests that ultimately leads two months later to the raising of the US threat level from yellow to orange for US financial institutions.

Aruchi is the nephew of Khalid Sheik Mohammed, mastermind of the September 11 attacks in the United States and cousin of Ramzi Yousef, mastermind of the February 26, 1993 World Trade Center bombing. His arrest was supervised by the CIA which provided crucial information on his location, Pakistani intelligence sources said.

--June 18, 2004

Abdul Aziz al Muqrin, "leader of Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia", is killed in Riyadh while disposing the body of Paul M. Johnson, Jr., a Lockheed Martin engineer who had been kidnapped six days earlier. 

According to Saudi authorities,he wasthe mastermind of the May and November suicide bomb attacks in Saudi Arabia, in which 53 people died, including nine Americans. His fighting experience began at age 17 when he went to Afghanistan to battle Soviet troops, linking up with both Saudis and other Muslims.  Al Muqrin later joined the war in Bosnia and in 1999 was sent to serve with a clandestine cell in East Africa.  He, too, spent time in a Saudi prison, where he learned the Koran by heart and was released because of good behavior just before September 11.  He was believed to be close to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the 9-11 attacks.

Al Muqrin was also believed to have helped establish front groups, such as the Brigade of the Two Mosques, to undermine the Saudi royal family. Saudi authorities recently acknowledged having discovered a number of camps outside Saudi cities used for training militants to carry out terror operations.

--July 13, 2004

Al Qaeda computer expert Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan is quietly captured in Lahore by Pakistani intelligence, a direct result of the arrest of Mussad Aruchi a month earlier.

Noor Khan is in essence a critical communications node between the al Qaeda leadership in the caves of South Waziristan and operatives around the world.  After being captured, he is persuaded to work with Pakistani intelligence, helping to identify critical data on his laptop and more than 1,000 cd-rom’s found in his apartment.  Among the materials found are the reports developed from surveillance of Heathrow Airport in London and US financial institutions in New York, Newark and Washington, DC and emails from Abu Faraj al Libi, the al Qaeda operations chief.   Through the emails and computer data, US intelligence is able to track down a British cell.  But a leak from Pakistani intelligence ends the operation.

--July 25, 2004

Ahmed Ghailani, wanted for his role in the East African embassy bombings in his native Tanzania and Kenya six years earlier, is captured in Gujrat, his whereabouts provided by the cd-rom’s found in Noor Khan’s apartment. 

Ghailani and others in his apartment, including his wife, withstand a 10 hour shootout until they surrender.

Ghailani had become a document falisification expert in the years after the embassy bombings.

--Aug. 3, 2004

Dhiren Barot, aka Issa al Hindi, aka Essa al Britani, is one of 13 people captured in raids across the United Kingdom.  Barot is viewed as the most important terrorist captured since that of Hambali, the Indonesian terrorist chief, a year earlier. 

Barot, a Hindu who converted to Islam, had fought in various Islamic guerilla and terrorist operations, is believed to have relayed orders to al Qaeda cells in Europe and North America and played a key role in recruiting new members to al Qaeda. 

He also is seen as a confidante of both Bin Laden and September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.  The 9-11 Commission report in fact describes him as the man Bin laden sent to the US in 2001 to surveill US financial institutions.   The report notes: “KSM claims, at Bin Ladin’s direction in early 2001, he sent Britani to the United States to case potential economic and “Jewish” targets in New York City.”

--Oct. 20, 2004

Muhsin Musa Matwalli Atwah, known as “al Elektroni”, is captured in Pakistan.  Intelligence officials said they captured a suspected al-Qaida “communications expert of Middle Eastern origin” whom they identified as Abdul Rahman but US officials say that it is indeed Atwah, an Egyptian who is wanted for his role in the East Africa embassy bombings in August 1998.

Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed confirmed the arrest but would not provide further details on when or where he was captured.

--Jan. 3, 2005

The leader of Algeria's second largest Islamic rebel group has been arrested, the Interior Ministry said on Monday, dealing a fresh blow to radical Muslim militants fighting the secular government.

The arrest of Nourredine Boudiafi, head of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), came six months after the killing of Nabil Sahraoui, head of the larger and more active Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), North Africa's top extremist group which has ties to al Qaeda.

--April 3-6, 2005

The mastermind of the Casablanca bombings, Karim al Mojjati, and al Qaeda’s top bombmaker in Saudi Arabia, Saud Homood Obaid Alqotaini Alotaibi, are killed in a three-day gun battle with Saudi Interior Ministry troops that began on April 3 in the city of Ar-Rass, in Qasim Province.  Almojati was being sought by the FBI because he had visited the United States in the late 1990's.  Saudi officials identified Almojati as the mastermind of the Casablanca attacks in May 2003.   Alotaibi is said to be one of two Saudi militants running al-Qaida's branch in Saudi Arabia. Last year, he purportedly posted an Internet statement rejecting an amnesty offered by Saudi ruler King Fahd, who promised militants their lives would be spared if they surrendered.

—May, 2005

Abu Faraj al-Libbi, believed to be No. 3 in the al-Qaida leadership, is wanted in connection with the Aug. 7, 1998, bombings of the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, as well as with two attempted assassination plots against President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan. He is captured by Pakistani forces after a firefight near Peshawar, capital of the North West Frontier Province.