Al-Qaeda leader presumed dead stars in surprise video on 9/11 anniversary

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The leader of Al-Qaeda who was presumed dead has released a video on the anniversary of 9/11.

In an hour-long speech Ayman al-Zawahari, who succeeded Osama bin Laden after the evil terrorist's death in 2011, praised Al-Qaeda attacks.

He praised one attack that targeted Russian troops in Syria in January, which came after the rumours that he had died from illness emerged last year. The group said the raid on Russian troops happened on New Year's Day.

The footage was produced and reportedly released by Al-Qaeda's official media arm As-Sahab, and it was released on Saturday, 20 years to the day since a series of coordinated plane hijackings by al-Qaeda killed almost 3,000 people.

It is the first glimpse of al-Zawahari since rumours began circulating that he had died, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist websites.

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

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The video was entitled “Jerusalem will not be Judaized”.

Al-Zawahiri's speech noted the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years of war. But it made no specific mention of the Taliban's takeover of the country and seizure of the capital Kabul last month.

SITE said it is still unknown whether the terror cell leader is dead or alive because intelligence agencies have offered no proof or solid assessments about his status.

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Al-Zawahiri replaced bin Laden after the latter was killed in a raid at his hideaway in Pakistan in May 2011.

It followed a decade long pursuit for the world's most wanted man who was the mastermind behind the attacks on September 11, 2001.

Ms Katz added: "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."

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  • Al-Qaeda
  • Terror
  • September 11

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