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A photo obtained in 2001 from the office of the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York shows Saudi-born millionaire Osama bin Laden (centre), Ayman Al-Zawahiri (left), and founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad Muhammad Atef (right). Al-Qaeda named its second in command Ayman al-Zawahiri to succeed slain chief Osama bin Laden and vowed to pursue its “jihad’ against the US and Israel. (AFP/File/Handout)

Al-Qaeda on Thursday named Egyptian surgeon Ayman al-Zawahiri to succeed slain leader Osama bin Laden and vowed no let-up in its deadly “jihad” against arch-foes the United States and Israel.

“The general command of Al-Qaeda announces, after consultations, the appointment of Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri as head of the group,” the jihadist network said in a statement posted on an Islamist website.

Zawahiri, the group’s long-time number two, succeeds bin Laden who was killed by US commandos in a May 2 raid in Pakistan.

The statement said that under Zawahiri’s leadership Al-Qaeda would relentlessly pursue its “jihad” (holy war) against the United States and Israel.

“We seek with the aid of God to call for the religion of truth and incite our nation to fight … by carrying out jihad against the apostate invaders … with their head being crusader America and its servant Israel, and whoever supports them,” said the statement.

Source: AFP

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