Saif al Adel, an Egyptian militant recently appointed interim leader of the al Qaeda operations, has been linked to the killing of US journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan in 2002, US investigators said in a report.
Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter, was kidnapped in Karachi in January 2002 while researching a story on militants, and was later beheaded.
The findings by investigators of the Pearl Project revealed al Adel had discussed Pearl’s abduction with Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the accused mastermind behind the September 11, 2001.
“Mohammad told the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that he was pulled into the kidnapping by a high-level leader in the al Qaeda circles, an Egyptian named Saif al Adel, who told him to make the kidnapping an al Qaeda operation,” said the investigators in their report which was published in January.
Journalism academics and students set up the Pearl Project at Georgetown University in the US to investigate Pearl’s kidnapping and murder.
Pearl fell into the al Qaeda’s hands after Pakistani militants, the subject of Pearl’s research, kidnapped him.
Al Adel learned of Pearl and approached Mohammad to take him off the Pakistani militants’ hands.
“He (al Adel) thought this was an opportunity,” Mohammad told FBI agents, according to the report’s authors.
“He said he wanted to make sure it’s an al Qaeda thing.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2011.