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Is Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri dead or alive?

Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri (Image: Wikipedia)

Amid rumours of his death Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was seen in a new 90-minute video on Saturday. The footage was deliberately released on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by al-Qaeda's media arm as-Sahab.

The documentary-style video, released on Telegram, is titled 'Jerusalem will not be Judaised'.

SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks the online activity of jihadist groups, reported that in a video released by al-Qaeda shows some evidence for the first time that he is not dead particularly with reference to events in December.

However, although the video was released on Saturday, al-Zawahiri made no mention of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, Rita Katz, SITE’s director noted in a Tweet. 

Al-Zawahiri also talked about the United States withdrawal from Afghanistan, but Katz pointed out that this could have been said long ago following the signing of the Doha Agreement in February 2020, in which the US pledged to remove its troops from the country.

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 explained.

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This has reference to events after December when rumours of his death surfaced, she said.

“Nonetheless, intelligence agencies have, as yet, offered no proof or solid assessments that Zawahiri is dead, leaving the question of his current status in the air,” Katz observes in her string of tweets. 

Terror groups have spitefully referred to 911 as oxygen that keeps the al-Qaeda going. 

Ayman al-Zawahiri, who took over the command of al-Qaeda after Osama bin Laden, was underground for a long time. The news of Ayman al-Zawahiri's death from illness also surfaced in November 2020, after which neither any video about him was revealed nor any information related to him.

Since the morning of September 11, the as-Sahab media had started running promos of coming soon on some Telegram channels.