New Delhi: Global terror outfit al Qaeda has named Ayman al Zawahiri as its new chief several weeks after the killing of its founder and long-time leader Osama bin Laden by US commandos in a covert CIA operation in Pakistan’s Abbottabad.
As per reports, the Islamists have announced Zawahiri’s appointment as new al Qaeda chief in a statement sent to a Dubai-based news channel on Thursday.
“Al Qaeda announces that Sheikh Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, may God guide him, assumed responsibility as the group`s Amir [leader],” Qaeda representatives were quoted as saying in the statement.
The Islamists have also warned that they would continue their holy war against the US and Israel under Zawahiri’s direction.
The Egyptian-born Zawahri vowed earlier this month to press ahead with al Qaeda`s campaign against the United States and its allies, in what appeared to be his first public response to bin Laden`s killing on May 02.
Zawahri, whose whereabouts are unknown, carries a $25 million FBI bounty on his head, as was with bin Laden. Zawahiri was long seen as bin Laden`s most likely successor.
Prior to this, al Qaeda had chosen a former Egyptian special forces officer as interim leader of the violent extremist group following Osama’s death.
Adel, a top al Qaeda strategist and senior military leader, had been nominated as "caretaker" chief of the group, reports said citing former Libyan militant Noman Benotman, who had renounced al Qaeda`s ideology.