Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri seen in video after death rumors

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Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri seen in video after death rumors

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri appeared ​in a video released Saturday — the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks — raising questions over his rumored death.

The US-based SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks jihadist groups online, tweeted about the existence of the video, saying Zawahiri made comments about events that occurred after speculation first emerged that he’d died.

​​”Amid rumours of his death, Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri shown in a new 60-minute video, this time offering some evidence that he is not dead​ – ​particularly, reference to events after December when rumors of death surfaced,” SITE director Rita Katz tweeted.

The video was entitled “Jerusalem will not be Judaized” and was released by As Sahab Media, the terror group’s propaganda arm. ​

Zawahiri mentioned a raid on a Russian military base by the ​al Qaeda-aligned Hurras al-Deen in Syria, which the group said occurred on Jan. 1 — after rumors began circulating of his death in November. 

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri appeared in a video on September 11, 2021.
Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri appeared in a video on September 11, 2021.
AFP/Getty Images
Zawahiri took over Al Qaeda after Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden.
Zawahiri took over Al Qaeda after Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden.
jihadOscope
In the video, Zawahiri called for Muslims to attack US, Israel and Western interests.
In the video, Zawahiri called for Muslims to attack US, Israel and Western interests.
jihadOscope

Katz said while Zawahiri did discuss the US’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, she noted he did not talk about the Taliban’s return to power in the country.

“However, Zawahiri doesn’t mention Taliban’s Afghanistan victory, and his talk of US ‘making its exit from Afghanistan’ could have been said early as Feb 2020 upon Doha Agreement,” she said, referring to the deal made last year to end the war in Afghanistan. “Thus, he could still be dead, though if so, would have been at some point in or after Jan 2021​.”. 

But she said it’s unknown if Zawahiri is dead or alive because “intelligence agencies have, as of yet, offered no proof or solid assessments that Zawahiri is dead, leaving the question of his current status in the air.​”​

The video is roughly an hour long.
The video is roughly an hour long.
jihadOscope

She also said that al Qaeda sees the anniversary of the deadliest terror attack on US soil as a “positive” event. 

“Tragic as it is to say, this 9/11 anniversary is a uniquely positive one for al-Qaeda. As one AQ supporter wrote, the US leaving Afghanistan is validation of Bin Laden’s vision and the ‘blessed’ 9/11 attacks, and that ‘Afghanistan is the beginning,’” she wrote.​

Zawahiri became the leader of the terror group after Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011. ​

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