Today, 16 June 2011 Al-Qaeda central command released a statement naming Ayman al-Zawahiri as its new leader.
The statement went on to reaffirm the well-known positions of the organisation such as the will to continue the jihad against the US, Israel and rulers of certain Islamic countries.
The Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri, born 19 June 1951, is a qualified surgeon and Islamic theologian. He previously led the Egyptian organisation ‘Egyptian islamic Jihad’. After this group merged with al-Qaeda in 1998 he became second-in-command after Osama bin-Laden and also his personal physician.
Al-Zawahiri was arrested in connection with the Saddat murder 1981 and was later sentenced to three years in prison for arms smuggling. In 1985 he left Egypt for Saudi Arabia where he first met bin-Laden. Later he travelled to Pakistan and Sudan where he was expelled in 1994. Later he allegedly travelled through countries like Switzerland, Bosnia, Russia and even to the US until he found refuge in Afghanistan.
Several attempts by various governments were undertaken to kill al-Zawahiri but so far he managed to get away unscathed every time.
Ayman al-Zawahiri is on the FBI’s most wanted list for a number of terrorist attacks, the reward for information leading to his capture is up to 25 million Dollars. His whereabouts are unknown at present.
Sources: MEMRI, FBI; 16 June 2011