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Al-Qaeda names al- Zawahiri as new chief following bin Laden's death

June 16, 2011 - Dubai

Al-Qaeda has named Ayman al- Zawahiri as its new chief following the killing of Osama bin Laden in a US raid in Pakistan last month.

The September 11, 2001 attacks mastermind, who had evaded capture for a decade, was killed in a top-secret operation involving a small team of US Special Forces in Pakistan's garrison town of Abbottabad on May 2.

"The general command of Al-Qaeda announces, after consultations, the appointment of Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri as head of the group," Al Jazeera quoted a statement issued in the name of the general command and posted online on Thursday, as saying.

Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon, has for years been al- Qaeda's public face, with video and audio messages threatening more attacks against Western targets and attempting to turn Muslim populations against their governments.

"We ask God for this to be a new era for Al-Qaeda under the leadership of Ayman Al-Zawahiri, an era that will purify Muslim land of every tyrant and infidel," Bloomberg quoted al-Qaeda, as saying in a statement posted on a website frequently used by the terrorist group.

Zawahiri was wanted in the United States even before the 9/11 attacks targeting New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon, which killed more than 3,000.

He was indicted in absentia in 1999 for the August 1998 bombings of US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya that killed 224 people, and was also considered the mastermind of the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen, which killed 17 sailors.


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