US vows to hunt down new al Qaeda chief Zawahiri

The US vowed to hunt down Ayman Zawahiri, the new al Qaeda leader, the same way as that of his predecessor Osama bin Laden.

Washington: The US on Friday vowed to hunt
down Ayman al-Zawahiri, the new Al Qaeda leader, the same way
as that of his predecessor Osama bin Laden, who was killed in
an American raid in Abbottabad in Pakistan.

"He (Zawahiri) and his organisation still threaten us.
As we did both seek to capture and kill and succeed in killing
bin Laden, we certainly do or will do the same thing with
Zawahiri," Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint
Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at a Pentagon news conference.

Mullen said he was not surprised by the news reports
that Zawahiri has succeeded Osama bin Laden.

In his last press conference as the Secretary of
Defense, Gates said that he is not sure it`s a position
anybody should aspire to be the Al Qaeda leader, under the

"I think he (Zawahiri) will face some challenges,"
Gates said.

"Bin Laden has been the leader of Al Qaida,
essentially since its inception. In that particular context,
he had a peculiar charisma that I think Zawahiri does not
have. I think he was much more operationally engaged than we
have the sense Zawahiri has been," he said, adding that he has
read that there is some suspicion within Al Qaida of Zawahiri
because he`s Egyptian.

"I think we should be mindful that this announcement
by Al Qaida reminds us that, despite having suffered a huge
loss with the killing of bin Laden -- and a number of others
-- Al Qaida seeks to perpetuate itself, seeks to find
replacements for those who have been killed, and remains
committed to the agenda that bin Laden put before them," Gates

"I think he`s got some challenges, but I think it`s
a reminder that they are still out there, and we still need to
keep after it," he said.

"It`s probably tough to count votes when you`re in a
cave," Gates said when asked why it took seven weeks for the
Al Qaeda leaders to elect their new leader.

"From my perspective, I don`t take it either way.
I think it`s just they`re working their way through that
process. And that`s how they made the decision," Mullen said.


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