Al-Zawahiri Officially Takes Over al-Qaeda

Ayman al-Zawahiri has officially been designated as the new leader of al-Qaeda, the group announced on Thursday through various websites.

Zawahiri’s ascension was expected by virtue of his long tenure as Osama bin Laden’s most trusted lieutenant. He had been the de facto al-Qaeda boss following the death of bin Laden in a U.S. raid of his house in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2. “The general leadership of al Qaeda group, after the completion of consultation, announces that Sheikh Dr. Ayman Zawahri, may God give him success, has assumed responsibility for command of the group,” al-Qaeda said in a statement. Zawahiri is considered the brains behind some of al-Qaeda’s worst attacks, including the 1998 U.S. embassy suicide bombings in Tanzania and Kenya that killed 224 people.

U.S. authorities have been hunting Zawahiri for sometime now without much success. The FBI has put up a $25-million reward on the head of the Egyptian theologian, who is also the leader of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Zawahiri’s whereabouts remain unknown, although he is believed to be hiding in the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border.