By Jennifer Ugwueke
Ayman al-Zawahri, Al-Qaeda chief appeared in a video released on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 despite claims of him being dead.
As the world commemorated the lives of the 3,000 people killed in the atrocious 2001 terrorist attack in the US, al-Zawahri, successor to Islamist extremist and mastermind of the sickening attack Osama Bin Laden, surfaced in a chilling newly-released video praising his group.
SITE Intelligence Group which monitors jihadist websites, said the video was released Saturday September 11, “countering” claims of al-Zawahri dying from an illness in November 2020.
In the 60 seconds video released over the weekend, he praised Al-Qaeda militants for a raid on Russian forces in Syria, which happened in January.
SITE director, Rita Katz analysed the video saying;
“Amid rumors of his death, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri shown in new 60-minute video, this time offering some evidence that he is not dead–particularly, reference to events after December, when rumors of death surfaced.
“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.
“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.
“Al-Qaeda and the jihadist landscape has been transformed” in recent weeks as “they’ve expanded propaganda and recruitment campaigns, celebrating what they see as their biggest victory since 2001: Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.”
The video was released at a time when there are warnings of Al-Qaeda expanding recruitment campaigns and propaganda.
Al-Zawahri became leader of the terrorist organisation in 2011 when Osama Bin-Laden was shot dead by US forces, after years of him being the most-wanted man in the world as the perpetrator of what to this day remains the most traumatic event of the century.
In the 2001 terrorist attack in the US, four planes were hijacked by Al-Qaeda members , two of which hit the two World Trade Center towers while one hit the Pentagon. A fourth managed to be diverged by heroic crew to a field in Pennsylvania.