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Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri

Al-Qaeda Persian Gulf Operations Chief


Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri

ImportanceVery High
Location of DetentionU.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba2
Date of CaptureEarly November 20021
Location of CaptureUnited Arab Emirates1
RoleTerrorist Operations Planner
SupervisorOsama bin Laden1
Full Given NameAbdul Rahim Mohammed Hussein Abda Al-Nashiri
Alias(es)Umar Mohammed al-Harazi, Abu Bilal al-Makki2, Rahman Hussein al-Saafani, Abu al-Mohsin, Abu al-Hasan, Omar Mohammed al-Harazi, Mullah Bilal1,2, Khalid al-Safani2, Amm Ahmad2
Alias(es)Bilal bin Marwan
Alternate Spelling(s)Abd al-Rahim Hussein Muhammed Abdu, Abd al-Rahim al-Nasheri, Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, Abdelrahim al-Nassir
Date of BirthJan. 5, 19652
Place of BirthMecca, Saudi Arabia2
Charged with(in absentia)
Charging authorityYemen
In connection withUSS Cole bombing
Case statusConvicted
Narrative and Notes
  • Al-Nashiri was propelled into al-Qaeda's senior leadership after the success of the USS Cole bombing.
  • He joined his cousins and uncles in militant Islam after completing intermediate school in Saudi Arabia. He took part in Khattab's insurgencies in Tajikstan and Chechnya and became a trainer at Khalden camp in Afghanistan in 1992.
  • Accompanied by Tawfiq bin Attash, he first met bin Laden in the mid-1990s, but al-Nashiri initially refused to pledge loyalty to him because he found the idea distateful.
  • In 1997, he joined the Taliban and later began work for al-Qaeda. He and his cousin Azzam were tasked to smuggle Russian AT-3 Sagger antitank missiles into Saudi Arabia to use against American targets there. The attack did not take place.
  • In late 1998, he was tasked by bin Laden to attack an oil tanker off the coast of Yemen. This plot was modified in 1999 to a U.S. Navy warship. Nashiri's operatives failed on their first attempt when an overloaded bomb boat sank in January 2000, but the Cole attack 10 months later succeeded.
  • His cousin Azzam was the suicide bomber at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1998.
  • An associate described him as utterly committed to al-Qaeda, suggesting he "would commit a terrorist act 'in Mecca inside the Ka'aba itself' (the holiest site on Islam) if he believed there was a need to do so."
  • At the time of Nashiri's arrest, he was involved in a number of plots, including one to crash a small plane into the bridge of a U.S. or allied warship in the United Arab Emirates.
  • He was one of 14 key al-Qaeda operatives and associates transferred from CIA custody to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2006.1,2,3
    1 The 9-11 Commission Final Report. July 22, 2004, Chapter 5.1.
    2 'Detainee Biographies,' press release, Director of National Intelligence, Sept. 6, 2006.
    3 The 9-11 Commission Final Report. July 22, 2004, Footnotes.
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