The actual al Qaeda leader, the Egyptian Ayman al Zawahiri, has reappeared in a video broadcast on the terrorist group’s networks in commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, in which 2,997 people died. It is not clear when that video was recorded by Al Zawahiri, who took over the reins of that terrorist group after the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011.
The SITE Intelligence Group, which is a leader in monitoring jihadist websites, said the video was posted on Al Qaida networks on Saturday, the same day as the 9/11 anniversary.
In it, Al Zawahri says that “Jerusalem will never be Judaized”, something that seems a reference to when Donald Trump in late 2017 recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Later, Al Zawahiri refers to several attacks by Al Qaida, including one against Russian troops in Syria that occurred in January in Raqqa.
17) Amid rumors of his death, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri shown in new 60-minute video, this time offering some evidence that he is not dead–particularly, reference to events after December, when rumors of death surfaced. (A speech from March offered no such proof) pic.twitter.com/IXpz6wIZvh
— Rita Katz (@Rita_Katz) September 11, 2021
The SITE group also claims that Al Zawahri refers in the video to the US Army’s withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years of war. But the exit agreement with the Taliban was signed by Trump in February 2020.
What casts doubt on the date the video was recorded is that Al Zawahri does not mention the fall of Afghanistan or the taking of the capital, Kabul, by the Taliban last month, according to SITE.
Since the end of 2020, rumors abound on social media that Al Zawahri may have died of natural causes. No video of him had appeared since then until this Saturday. As Rita Katz, director of SITE, said on the social network Twitter: “It is still possible that he is dead, although if so, it would have been sometime in January 2021 or later.”
Al Zawahri’s speech on the video is 61 minutes and 37 seconds long and was produced by Al Qaida’s media arm, As Sahab.
In recent years, Al Qaida has faced competition from its rival, the jihadist group Islamic State, or Daesh, which killed 13 US soldiers and 180 civilians in an attack in Kabul during the US evacuation. . Unlike Al Qaida, Daesh is an enemy of the Taliban, and it also disputes control of parts of Afghanistan.