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The lists are obviously subjective–there are many more candidates–but these are some of the top combatants in the war on terror.
1. Osama Bin Laden: Founder and leader of al Qaeda, responsible for the 9/11 attacks against the US as well as numerous other mass casualty attacks. He was killed by US Navy Seals during a raid on his compound in Abbottabad,Pakistan in May 2011
2. Muhammad Atef Founding member and military chief of al Qaeda. He was killed by a US airstrike during early fighting in Afghanistan in November 2001
3. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi A militant jihadist who opposed US presence in the Middle East and had a profound hatred for Israel. He formed his own terrorist group, Tawhid wal-Jihad. In 2004, he pledged alliance to al Qaeda and changed the name of his group to al Qaeda in Iraq. He was responsible for hundreds of attacks in Iraq. US bombs killed Zarqawi in Iraq in June 2006.
4. Abu Layth al-Libi Senior al Qaeda military commander who planned attacks against US and coalition forces in Afghanistan including a 2007 bombing of the Bagram Air Base during a visit by then Vice President Richard Cheney. He was killed in a drone attack in Pakistan in March 2008
5. Atiyah Abd al-Rahman Until his recent death, he was the number 2 to al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and was a key facilitator with al Qaeda affiliates. Materials seized in the Bin Laden compound showed Rahman was in frequent contact with Bin Laden. He was killed by a drone strike in Pakistan in August 2011
1. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) Third ranking member of al Qaeda, operational planner and mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. He was captured in Pakistan in March 2003, and is held at Guantanamo Bay (GITMO), Cuba
2. Abu Faraj al-Libi Replaced KSM after his capture, directed operations against US and coalition forces in Afghanistan, planned 2003 assassination attempt against then Pakistani President Pervez Musharref. He was captured in May 2005 and is held at GITMO
3. Ramzi Bin al-Shibh Involved in planning of 9/11 attacks, associated with some of the 9/11 hijackers, believed to have been targeted to be the 20th hijacker but was unable to get into the US. He was captured in September 2002 and is held at GITMO
4. Abu Zubaydah Initially believed to be a high ranking al Qaeda leader, but the US later concluded he held a much lesser position. He was captured in Pakistan in March 2002 and is held at GITMO.
5. Umar Patek Connected to the 2002 Bali nightclub bombing which killed more than 200 people including 7 Americans. He was captured by Pakistani forces in January 2011 and sent to Indonesia
1. Ayman al-Zawahiri A physician, long time deputy to Osama Bin Laden who recently was named leader of al Qaeda following Bin Laden's death. He has been seen and heard in numerous al Qaeda videos and audio tapes on the web. He is on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list, was indicted in the U.S. for his role in the 1998 bombings of the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania
2. Saif al-Adel A member of the senior leadership of al Qaeda who is believed to be in Iran. He is on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list and was indicted by the U.S. in connection with the 1998 bombings of the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania
3. Anas al-Liby A computer expert for al Qaeda who is on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list, and has been indicted for his role in the 1998 bombings of the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
4. Ibrahim al-Asiri Suspected of being the chief bombmaker for AQAP, Asiri is believed to be responsible for designing the explosive devices used in the unsuccessful Christmas Day 2009 plot to blow up a US airliner as it landed in Detroit and in the cargo plane bomb plot in 2010.
5. Adnan el Shukrijumah A senior leader of al Qaeda's external operations program who is on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list and has been indicted by the U.S. in the 2009 plot to attack the New York City subway system as well as targets in the United Kingdom.