June 16th, 2011
08:09 AM ET

Jihadist websites: Al-Zawahiri appointed al Qaeda's new leader

Ayman al-Zawahiri has been appointed the new leader of al Qaeda, according to a statement posted on several jihadist websites.

Al-Zawahiri has played a defining role in al Qaeda for more than a decade as Osama bin Laden's deputy. Even before the announcement, he had been widely regarded as the organization's de facto leader.

The announcement, dated June 2011 but which surfaced Thursday on the sites, said the decision to appoint al-Zawahiri was made to pay respect to the "righteous martyrs" and to honor the legacy of bin Laden.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Al-Zawahiri • Terrorism
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