Despite video, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri could still be dead

12-09-2021 Sun 21:58 IST | IANS | International

New Delhi, Sep 12 : Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, whose video surfaced on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on Saturday, could still be dead.

"However, Zawahiri doesn't mention Taliban's Afghanistan victory, and his talk of US "making its exit from Afghanistan" could have been said early as Feb 2020 upon Doha Agreement. Thus, he could still be dead, though if so, would have been at some point in or after Jan 2021", Rita Katz, SITE's Director tweeted.

"Nonetheless, intelligence agencies have, as of yet, offered no proof or solid assessments that Zawahiri is dead, leaving the question of his current status in the air", Katz added.

"ISIS supporters & aligned groups, despite having less reason to celebrate today than al-Qaeda, capitalizing on 9/11 in their own way: spitefully calling 9/11 the "oxygen" that keeps al-Qaeda alive and challenge the group to prove that Zawahiri is alive", Katz added.

"Event Zawahiri referenced was a raid on a Russian military base by the al-Qaeda-aligned Hurras al-Deen in Syria, which it claimed on Jan 1 (after rumors/reporting of his death surfaced in Nov). Also introduces Zawahiri with "May Allah Protect Him", she said.

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was seen in a new video on Saturday, following rumors that he had died. The footage was released on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Times of Israel reported.

SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks the online activity of jihadist groups, reported that in a video released by al-Qaeda, al-Zawahiri spoke on a number of subjects including the "Judaization of Jerusalem."

Although the video was released on Saturday, al-Zawahri made no mention of the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan, Rita Katz, SITE's director noted, the report said.

Al-Zawahiri made references to a raid on a Russian military base by the al-Qaeda-linked Hurras al-Deen group in Syria, which it claimed on January 1, 2021, Katz added.

Al-Zawahiri also talked about the United States withdrawal from Afghanistan, but Katz pointed out that it could have been said long ago following the signing of the Doha Agreement, in which the US pledged to remove its troops from the country, the report added.


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