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The Egyptian Refa'i Ahmed Taha (Arabic: رفاعي أحمد طه‎) or Refa'i Ahmed Taha Musa or Ahmed Refa'i Taha, alias Abu Yasser al-Masri ( أبو ياسر المصري ), was the leader of a terrorist component of al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya[1], having succeeded "The Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdel-Rahman in that role after the latter's arrest in 1993 and imprisonment for life in 1995.

The list[2] of banned entities maintained by the US Treasury Department puts his date of birth at 24 June 1954, and lists additional aliases of his, including 'Issam 'Ali Muhammad 'Abd Allah, ( عصام علي محمد عبد الله ). He is named as an undicted co-conspirator in the current indictment[1] of 21 members of al-Qaeda and affiliated groups, for various roles in the 1998 United States embassy bombings in Africa. Earlier in 1998, Taha was one of five people who signed, or are alleged to have signed, a threatening so-called fatwa against the United States and Israel and their civilians; the other signatories included Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri; see Fatāwā of Osama bin Laden. In 2000, Taha appeared in a video with bin Laden and al-Zawahiri which threatened a violence over the imprisonment of Omar Abdel-Rahman.[3]

Taha was also wanted in his native Egypt, where he had been sentenced to death in the 1999 case of the Returnees from Albania.[4] In October of 2001 Taha was arrested at the Damascus airport (after fleeing the post-9/11 invasion of Afghanistan, quite probably) and quietly extradited to Egypt.[5] Al-Qaeda claimed in 2006 that he is still alive in custody[6] while some other al-Qaeda propaganda still holds up Abdel-Rahman (who is in prison, in ADX Florence) as the "spiritual" leader of the Egyptian side of that body. Official sources have not revealed where Taha is, or even whether he is still alive.[7]

References

  1. ^ a b Copy of indictment USA v. Usama bin Laden et al., Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies
  2. ^ Banned entity list, Office of Foreign Assets Control, US Treasury Department
  3. ^ Background Information on Terrorist Groups, part of the US State Department's report Patterns of Global Terrorism - 2000
  4. ^ Egypt's most wanted, al-Ahram Weekly, 18 October 2001
  5. ^ Al-Qaida: Dead or captured, MSNBC; see October 2001
  6. ^ As-Sahab (al-Qaeda) internet video with al-Zawahiri and al-Hukaymah, 5 August 2006
  7. ^ Refai Taha Musa at Global Security, cites official sources
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