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article imageZawahiri chosen as new al-Qaeda leader

By Lynn Curwin     Jun 16, 2011 in Politics
Ayman al-Zawahiri, who had served many years as al-Qaeda's second-in-command under Osama Bin Laden, has been appointed as the organisation's new leader.
Zawahiri is believed by man to be the brains behind Bin Laden, who was killed on May 2, but is said to lack his charisma.
Al-Qaeda released a statement, announcing Zawahirir's appointment, and said their "jihad" against the United States and Israel would continue under his leadership.
"We seek with the aid of God to call for the religion of truth and incite our nation to fight ... by carrying out jihad against the apostate invaders ... with their head being crusader America and its servant Israel, and whoever supports them," the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the statement said.
They added that they would fight until all invading armies were gone from "the land of Islam."
A video message, in which Zawahiri spoke of Bin Laden's death, was posted on June 8.
"The sheikh has departed, may God have mercy on him, to his God as a martyr and we must continue on his path of jihad to expel the invaders from the land of Muslims and to purify it from injustice," the BBC quoted him as saying in the video.
"Today, and thanks be to God, America is not facing an individual or a group, but a rebelling nation, which has awoken from its sleep in a jihadist renaissance."
Zawahiri an Egyptian who trained as a surgeon, is believed to be almost 60 years old. He has been in hiding since the September 11, 2001 attack on the US.
"Only a few weeks ago when the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was here in Pakistan she reportedly gave Pakistan what's been described as a hitlist", Imtiaz Tyab, reporting for Al Jazeera, said.
"It listed five names and Zawahiri's name was on the list. Whether that means the new al-Qaeda leader is here we don't know for sure, but it certainly raises some questions."
Former U.S, intelligence officer Robert Ayers was quoted in a Reuters article in the Montreal Gazette as saying: "He's a grey bureaucrat, not a leader who can energise and rally the troops. The only thing his promotion will accomplish is to elevate his priority as a target for the U.S."
Others fear he may want to prove himself by taking action soon.
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