al-Zawahiri appointed as al-Qaeda leader

The new chief of al-Qaeda is announced today. This may bring about fresh terrorist attacks around the world. We must find him and do the right thing, before he begins his killing spree.

Bin Laden was killed by US forces in Pakistan in early May.

New Chief of al-Qaeda

In the statement, al-Qaeda “announces that Sheikh Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, may God guide him, assumed responsibility as the group’s amir [leader]”. It warned it would continue to fight a jihad or holy war against the US and Israel under his direction. Zawahiri is believed by some experts to have been the “operational brains” behind the 9/11 attacks on the US.

He was Bin Laden’s deputy for years and warned just over a week ago that Bin Laden would continue to “terrify” the US from beyond the grave. For years security analysts have suggested Zawahiri is most likely to be hiding in the Afghan-Pakistan border region. However, Bin Laden and other key militant leaders who were also believed to be concealed there have instead been discovered in Pakistani towns and cities.

“Al-Qaeda said that he was in charge, he took credit for attacks (like that over Detroit); he was not in a cave or some remote area but in a major town where couriers came and went,” he says. “The conventional wisdom was just plain wrong and based on wishful thinking.”

 Referring to Ayman al-Zawahiri, whom many regard as effectively Bin Laden’s number two, Mr Riedel says that “he is also very active and if he is not found soon, will recreate the same central command post”.

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