Zawahiri Takes bin Laden's Job

Longtime No. 2 gets expected promotion
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2011 6:57 AM CDT
Updated Jun 16, 2011 7:57 AM CDT
In this television image from Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera, Osama bin Laden, right, listens to his top deputy Ayman al-Zawahri at an undisclosed location.   (AP Photo/Al-Jazeera/APTN)
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(Newser) – Al-Qaeda has officially filled the opening left by Osama bin Laden, announcing that Ayman al-Zawahiri will take over as head of the terror organization. The move was widely expected, as Zawahiri had long served as bin Laden's second-in-command. “The general command of al-Qaeda announces, after consultations, the appointment of Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri as head of the group,” it said in a statement posted on an Islamist website, according to the Telegraph.

The 59-year-old Egyptian surgeon was the founder of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which merged with al-Qaeda in 1998. Last week he appeared in a 28-minute video wearing a white robe and turban to deliver a eulogy for bin Laden, saying he would terrorize the US in death as he had in life. “We will pursue the jihad until we expel the invaders from Muslim lands,” he promised.

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