Saif al-Adel, a man of Egyptian descent who is believed to have briefly taken over Al-Qaeda leadership after Osama bin Laden’s death, was arrested at Cairo airport on Wednesday, the Al-Ahram newspaper said on its website.
However, he denied the link and said it was a case of mistaken identity.
“I am not the wanted Saif al-Adel,” he said. “What has been said about me is lies. I never took part in actions against people or installations.”
He said he had traveled to Egypt with papers issued by the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad.
“I decided to come to Egypt to live in peace and because I am certain of my innocence,” he said.
According to the airport’s security services, al-Adel arrived in Cairo from Pakistan via the U.A.E. He was taken into custody by Egypt’s state security authority.
The FBI put al-Adel on the list of most wanted terrorists list and put a bounty of $5 million on his head. He is wanted in connection with the August 7, 1998, bombings of the United States Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.
Al-Adel, one of Al-Qaeda founders and a close ally of Osama bin Laden, is thought to have briefly assumed leadership of the terrorist network before handing it over to Bin Laden's longtime deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri.