Rumored Death, Video of Al-Qaeda Frontman about 9/11 appears

Jakarta, CNN Indonesia —

Leader Al-Qaeda Ayman al-Zawahri appeared in a new video marking the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks or 9/11. The video comes months after rumors of his death circulated.

The SITE Intelligence Group which monitors jihadist websites said the video was released on Saturday (11/9). There, al-Zawahri said Jerusalem would never be ‘judidicated’.

It also praised Al-Qaeda attacks, including attacks on Russian forces in Syria last January.

SITE said al-Zawahri also noted the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years of war. However, SITE added that the footage may not be new given the US military withdrawal agreement with the Taliban was signed in February 2020.

In the video, Al-Zawahri makes no mention of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan and the capital Kabul last month. But Al-Zawahri mentioned the January 1 attack targeting Russian troops on the outskirts of the northern Syrian city of Raqqa.

Rumors have been spreading since late 2020 that al-Zawahri had died of illness. Since then, no video or evidence of life has emerged until this year’s 9/11 anniversary.

“He could well be dead, although if so, his death could be in or around January 2021,” SITE Director Rita Katz tweeted.

Al-Zawahri’s speech was recorded in a 61-minute 37-second video produced by the group’s as-Sahab Media Foundation.

In recent years, Al-Qaeda has faced competition in jihadist circles from its rival, ISIS.

ISIS rose to prominence by seizing large parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014 and declaring a caliphate and expanding affiliates to several countries across the region.

ISIS’s physical caliphate ended in Iraq and Syria, although its militants were still active and carrying out attacks. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the shadow leader of ISIS was killed by US special forces in an attack in northwestern Syria in October 2019.

While Al-Zawahri is the leader of Al-Qaeda after Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011 in Abbottabad, Pakistan by US Navy SEALs.

(wel/DAL)

[Gambas:Video CNN]


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