In it, Zawahiri said “Jerusalem will never be Judaized” and praised the group’s attacks, including against Russian troops in Syria in January.
Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has appeared in a new video marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, months after rumors surfaced that he was dead, the Associated Press reported.
The US agency SITE Intelligence Group, which specializes in monitoring jihadist groups, said the video was released yesterday.
In it, Zawahiri said that “Jerusalem will never be Judaized,” and praised Al Qaeda’s attacks, including against Russian troops in Syria in January. He also pointed to the withdrawal of the US military from Afghanistan after the 20-year war.
According to SITE, this statement does not necessarily mean that the recording was made recently, as the agreement with the Taliban to withdraw was signed in February 2020.
Zawahiri said nothing about the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan and the capital, Kabul, last month, but mentioned the Jan. 1 attack on Russian troops near the northern Syrian city of Raqqa.
Since the end of 2020, rumors have been circulating that Zawahiri has died of an illness. No video or evidence that he was alive had appeared since yesterday.
According to Rita Katz, director of SITE, he may be dead, but if so, it dates back to January 2021 at the earliest.
Zawahiri’s speech was recorded in a 61-minute, 37-second video produced by the group’s As Sahab media foundation.