PHONETICS AHbd al-Rah-HEEM ah-NASH-er-REE
KEY ALIAS(ES) Abd al-Rahim Hussein Muhammad Abdu (true name), Mullah Bilal, Bilal, Abu Bilal al-Makki, Khalid al-Safani, Amm Ahmad ("Uncle Ahmad")
NATIONALITY Saudi National of Yemeni descent
'Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri was al-Qa'ida's operations chief in the Arabian Peninsula until his capture in 2002. Trained in explosives, Nashiri honed his expertise in suicide attacks and maritime operations. He led cells in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Yemen, and he was the mastermind and local manager of the bombing in October 2000 of the USS Cole. The success of the USS Cole operation appeared to have propelled Nashiri into a role of greater responsibility.
Born in Mecca on 5 January 1965, Nashiri ended his formal education after intermediate school and eventually followed in the footsteps of his uncles and cousins to become an extremist. He participated in Ibn al-Khattab's Chechen and Tajik insurgencies and became a trainer at al-Qa'ida's Khaldan camp in Afghanistan in 1992. After returning from Tajikistan, Nashiri, accompanied by al-Qa'ida operative Khallad bin 'Altash, first met Usama Bin Ladin in 1994. In 1997, Nashiri fought with the Taliban in Kabul and Jalalabad. The following year, Nashiri and his cousin, Jihad Muhammad Abu Ali, were implicated in a Bin Ladin-sponsored operation to smuggle Sagger missiles into Saudi Arabia for use against an unspecified US military target. Nashiri was the leader of the plot and a major player in the Saudi cell at that time.
Nashiri was tasked by Bin Ladin in a private meeting in Afghanistan in 1998 to attack a US or Western oil tanker off the coast of Yemen. This original objective was subsequently modified by Bin Ladin in 1999 to target a US military ship in the Port of Aden. Nashiri's operatives' first attempt was unsuccessful when their boat laden with explosives sank in January 2000 -- they were probably targeting the USS The Sullivans. On Bin Ladin's instructions to try again, his suicide operatives successfully attacked the USS Cole in October; Nashiri was in Afghanistan at the time of the attack.
At the Lime of his arrest. Nashiri was arranging funding for a plot to crash a small airplane into the bridge of a Western navy vessel in Port Rashid, UAE. an operation he had hoped to execute in November or December 2002. He also was orchestrating additional attacks, one targeting a US housing compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which he had planned for mid-2003. Nashiri abandoned a plot that he was involved in earlier in 2002 to attack warships in the Strait of Hormuz, but his operatives -- on orders from Bin Ladin -- in October 2002 rammed the French tanker MV Limburg off the coast of Yemen with a small boat. Other plots that Nashiri was involved in included a car bomb attack against a Saudi military installation at Tabuk aimed at killing US military personnel, attacks on oil tankers in the Strait of Gibraltar and Western warships passing through the Port of Dubai, and attacks against land-based targets in Morocco, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. Nasihiri was convicted and sentenced to death by a Yemeni court, in absentia, for his part in the USS Cole bombing. (Source)