Is al-Qaeda’s leader dead?
Islam News – by Rayan Haidar – Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri,an Egyptian terrorist known for being the leader of terrorist group al-Qaeda since June 2011, has died at the age of 69 for likely natural causes as Pakistani media claimed today.
Last heard of him was in a video message on the anniversary of 9/11 attacks.
His death, if affirmed, opens up a “deep leadership vacuum” within Al-Qaeda for that the senior commanders who would replace him have been killed.
According to Arab News report, at least four security sources in Afghanistan and Pakistan confirmed Zawahiri’s death.
“He [Zawahiri] died last week in Ghazni,” an Al-Qaeda translator said to Arab News, and added, “He died of asthma because he had no formal treatment.”
A Pakistani source, a security officer with knowledge of anti-terror operations, said they had information that Zawahiri had died around a month ago, as Daily mail reported.
“What we know is that he was having some breathing issues and has passed away somewhere in Afghanistan,” the Al-Qaeda source said.
However, western security officials have yet to verify the truth of Zawahiri’s death.
The head of jihadism monitoring group SITE, Rita Katz, stated last week, ‘It is very typical of al-Qaeda to not publish news about the death of its leaders in a timely manner,’ as the Daily Mail report read.
Moreover, a Pakistani source – a civilian intelligence official – stated, “To my knowledge he was extremely ill and had the issue of kidney failure,” and added, “He was unable to manage his dialysis but I still need to confirm if he has died.” He also said that Zawahiri’s last movements were inside Afghanistan.
US officials told Associated Press that Zawahiri’s death cannot be confirmed, but the US intelligence is still trying to confirm the truth.
“A spokesman for Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security spy agency told Arab News he had not heard about Zawahiri’s death and the organization had no comment on the matter,” Arab News reported.
Among the top leaders of Al-Qaeda who are still at large and could succeed Zawahiri is Saif Al-Adl, a head of the militant group’s Shoura Council.
Saf Al-Adl, who is on of FBI list, the reward of his location information is worth almost 10 million $ – Arab news stated in its report.
In the end, what will be the destiny of Al-Qaeda after Zawahiri? And will Saif Al-Adl really succeed Zawahiri?