Blind Sheikh’s son killed in US airstrike in Afghanistan

The son of the ‘Blind Sheikh,’ the spiritual leader of the Egyptian Islamic Group who is in a US jail for the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, was killed in a US airstrike in Afghanistan, according to a statement released today by the terror group.

The Egyptian Islamic Group announced that Ahmed Omar Abdul Rahman, who is also known as Saif, “was killed in an American air bombing from an unmanned plane on the frontlines in Afghanistan,” according to a brief statement that was released on the terror group’s website. The statement was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.

The Egyptian Islamic Group said Ahmed was killed today, but did not state where in Afghanistan he was killed. Ahmed’s role in the Egyptian Islamic Group was not disclosed.

The International Security Assistance Force could not confirm the report of Ahmed’s death. “We have no operational reporting of this event,” an ISAF spokesman told The Long War Journal.

Ahmed is the son of Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, or the Blind Sheikh, who is currently serving a life sentence in a US federal prison for his role in the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 that killed six Americans. Al Qaeda operations chief Khalid Sheikh Mohammed financed the operation, and several al Qaeda operatives, including Ramzi Yousef, carried out the attack. The terror group detonated a large truck bomb in the basement of the building with the intent of bringing the North tower crashing down onto the South Tower. Eight years later, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed succeeded in bringing down both buildings by orchestrating the ramming of airplanes into the Twin Towers during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

The Blind Sheikh took control of the Egyptian Islamic Group in the 1980s but maintained close ties to Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which was led by Ayman al Zawahiri, now the head of al Qaeda. The Blind Sheikh issued a fatwa, or religious decree, that justified the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, who was killed by members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad in 1981. He spent several years in prison but was never convicted for his role in the murder of Sadat.

In the 1980s, the Blind Sheikh moved to Afghanistan to aid in the fighting against the Soviet Union. He maintained close ties with Zawahiri and al Qaeda founders Osama bin Laden and Abdullah Azzam. After the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, he moved to New York City, where he preached jihad while plotting to conduct attacks in the US. He was able to move to the US despite being on a terrorist watch list.

Several of his sons fought in Afghanistan and developed close ties to al Qaeda.

“Dr. Omar [the Blind Sheikh] had sent a number of his sons to the Afghan Jihad in the days of the Russian occupation, and all of them returned with the exception of Ahmed, who was killed today,” the Egyptian Islamic Group said in today’s statement.

Two other sons of the Blind Sheikh are known to have developed close ties to al Qaeda. He is known to have at least seven sons.

One son, Asim Abdul Rahman, who is also known as Abu Asim, is reported to have signed onto al Qaeda’s International Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders back in 1998. He is also rumored to have been granted citizenship by the Taliban after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, although this has not been confirmed.

Another son, Mohammed Omar Abdul Rahman, was captured in Quetta, Pakistan, in 2003, and is currently in US custody. He “ran a training camp in Afghanistan before the Sept. 11 attacks and also had a role in operational planning,” according to The Associated Press. “He is considered a senior Al Qaeda operative, one of several operations chiefs who rank one tier below [Khalid Sheikh] Mohammed in the al Qaeda hierarchy.”

Ahmed is the latest Egyptian Islamic Jihad leader killed in the Afghanistan-Pakistan theater.

On Oct. 31, 2008, Mohammad Khalil Hasan al Hakaymah, who is also known as Abu Jihad al Masri, was killed in a US Predator airstrike in the town of Mir Ali in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan. Abu Jihad was a senior member of al Qaeda. He merged the Egyptian Islamic Group with al Qaeda and served as the faction’s leader; this made him a member of al Qaeda’s Shura Majlis, or senior council. He also served as the chief of al Qaeda’s intelligence branch and directed al Qaeda’s intelligence shura; and he directed external operations, largely in Egypt. Additionally, he was a prolific writer and a major ideologue for the terror group. The US government had $1 million reward for information leading to the capture of Abu Jihad.

Sometime in early 2011, Osama Hassan, whose sister, Omayma, is married to Zawahiri, was killed in Afghanistan, according to a martyrdom statement released by the Al Maqrizi Center for Historical Studies, an Egyptian Islamic Jihad front group. Hassan’s exact role in the Egyptian Islamic Group is not known, but he is believed to have been a key link in convincing the external faction of the organization to join al Qaeda.

Also, sometime in late 2001 after the US invasion, Tariq Anwar Sayyid Ahmad, who was described as the “Commander of Special Operations for the [Egyptian Islamic] Jihad group,” was killed in Khost province, Afghanistan. Tariq was married to Omayma, Hassan’s sister, who is now married to Zawahiri.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

Tags: , , ,


  • Charles says:

    Hmm, the rate at which bad guys are being taken down seems to be picking up. Maybe Petreus is making good use of OBL’s notes & has implemented a more more rigorous OODA loop with their installed knowledge base when they take prisoners.
    Hmm. For awhile there the ISI via the Hakkanis was killing Afghan officials left and right. There seems to be less of that–at least for the last two-three weeks.
    Perhaps that’s just a pause as the ISI needs to find new guys to do their bidding.

  • KSM says:

    I don’t feel that way Bill, the implication that there is a one shot fix for any conflict is reaching. Chasing names of characters like producers for a movie script, these are adaptive networks. We stopped a whopping 3 percent of drug production, in Helmand where there is quite a large force. We don’t care or don’t have a clue who (Farmers, traffickers, supplier) supports INS and who does not. Open borders to anywhere for anyone with legs. The lack of respect that the enemy has for coalition forces drones or otherwise. The fear from our side is palpable, they are savages. Its my thought that the folks who have the mind blowing info may have red tape problems. While the UBL raid may not have been a bust, it seems to be somewhere between that and Al Capone Vault in the way that it slowed down US org crime. PR stunts aside. They have a problem here that we don’t have an answer to in the states, which is effectively controlling the borders.

  • Charles says:

    Its my thought that the folks who have the mind blowing info may have red tape problems.
    Petreus may have solved that roadblock in the last couple weeks.

  • Charles says:

    The fear from our side is palpable, they are savages.
    Only if by “our side” you mean the Taliban. Right now it sucks to those guys. On the one hand the ISI want them to fight to the bitter end–& will kill them if they do not die in battle. On the other hand the US kills them everywhere… in their beds, on the phone, riding in their cars. They walk around with a target on their backs. So they have to come forward to die–just to get some relief.

  • blert says:

    The fear from our side is palpable, they are savages.

  • Infidel4LIFE says:

    Wow. Karma at work i see…

  • ArneFufkin says:

    @Charles: Do you expect truth or reason from a mook who adopts the moniker “KSM”?
    These are hard days … and harder nights … for the Salafist enemies of 21st century modernity/democracy/freedom/prosperity. The folks in 2011 who want to live in 650 A.D. – and force every other human on God’s earth to live in 650 A.D. through indiscriminate murder – just might not live to see 2012.
    So it goes. Let’s get busy.

  • My2Cents says:

    Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman is supposed to have at least 7 sons, and there are at least 4 left. So what are the est up to?

  • KSM says:

    Only if by “our side” you mean the Taliban.

    Well if I have to spell it out… Afgan friendly’s. Not so PC..
    We will have to see how much the Gen P has fixed whatever and how realistic all of the wishful thinking is. My point always has been that in a war of attrition targeted killing is luxury. I hope I am wrong and you are correct about a huge change in the tide of things. I ll be the first to admit, when I see it with my own eyes.

  • Neo says:

    Blert said: Until Islamabad suffers a revolution nothing can be resolved. It is the source of all of the South Asian difficulties. Pakistan is a nation owned by an army — period.
    Careful what you wish for. A revolution by whom? Most potential revolutionaries within Pakistan are even more hostile than the people who are now in charge. The political mix and attitudes are far different in Pakistan from what they are in Northern Africa. Right now if you removed the army from power in Pakistan, the power of the upper economic classes and the elected government will dissolve as well. What you will have left is fighting ethnic factions, fighting economic classes, Islamists, a lot of poor people with nothing to lose, and several dozen nuclear weapons. Doesn

  • paul kamolnick says:

    I am not sure it is accurate to describe Ramzi Yousef as ‘Al Qa’ida’ or even KSM as ‘Al Qa’ida’ in 1993. They had met UbL in Afghanistan, but were independent terrorist entrepeneurs motivated virtually entirely by the Israel-Palestine conflict. It was only after the 1998 embassy bombings that KSM felt UbL was serious about terror.

  • RayKelly says:

    Blert said: Until Islamabad suffers a revolution nothing can be resolved…
    This is the meltdown that is needed for the lowest common denominator in the Afghan, PAK, Kashmir, India, region to give up the ghost of animosity that they have for each other as well as the against the US/ west. Please let it happen… Not like you have a choice any way. They feel their societies are too corrupt to repair and want to change it in the most dramatic way possible. Why should the US (Waste cash) avert a melt down in these societies islamic or other wise? If they attack us retaliate with Nukes. Stop playing liberal games it only serve non-western goals.


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram