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Al-Qaeda’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, long rumored dead, appears in video for 9/11 20th anniversary

  • Ayman al-Zawahiri speaks of ‘Judaization of Jerusalem,’ mentions US withdrawal from Afghanistan, but not Taliban takeover — suggesting the footage may not be recent

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.

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.

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. Get The Times of Israel’s Daily Edition by email and never miss our top stories Newsletter email address By signing up, you agree to the terms

“Thus, he could still be dead, though if so, would have been at some point in or after Jan 2021,” Katz tweeted.

Rumors of al-Zawahiri’s death have recirculated every few years, but experts have said that he is not in good health.

Al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian who became leader after Osama bin Laden’s death, has faded in prominence in recent years.

But the extremist group that once used Afghanistan as a staging base to attack the US 20 years ago may attempt to regenerate there, following the American withdrawal that has left the Taliban in power, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned on Thursday.

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