Terrorist vs terrorist: Al Qaeda leader Zawahiri claims credit for 9/11, Islamic State asks if he is still alive

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Sep 12, 2021, 12:11 PM(IST)

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri surfaces in new video (Photo Courtesy: SITE Intelligence Group) Photograph:( Others )

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Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri's purported video had also appeared last year during the 9/11 attack anniversary. SITE Intelligence Group said Zawahiri doesn't mention the Taliban's Afghanistan victory and his talk of the US "making its exit from Afghanistan" could have been said early as Feb 2020.

As the US marked the 20th anniversary of the 9/11, al Qaeda, which was behind the 2001 attacks, released a video of its leader Ayman al-Zawahiri on Telegram messaging app titled "Jerusalem will not be Judaised".

But Islamic State, the other terrorist group, is doubting the veracity of the video, challenging al Qaeda to prove that Zawahiri is still alive.

Part of the reason for that doubt is that Zawahiri did not mention the Taliban's recent takeover of Afghanistan in the video message. He is shown praising the Al Qaeda terrorists killed last year. It referred to the Taliban just once, saying America is "broken and shattered", and returning from Afghanistan.

Zawahiri in the video said 19 Mujahideen fighters "wounded America's heart" referring to the 9/11 attackers. There were reports last year which claimed Zawahiri, 70, was likely dead in Afghanistan. However, there was no confirmation from Al Qaeda on Zawahiri's whereabouts or about the state of his health.

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Telegram is reportedly deleting the propaganda video released by Al Qaeda. According to the US-based SITE Intelligence Group, Zawahiri also spoke about a raid on a Russian military base in the video. UN in a report last year had said Zawahiri was "probably alive but too frail to be featured in propaganda”.

Also Read: FBI releases newly declassified record on 9/11

According to Rita Katz, director of SITE Intelligence Group, "Zawahiri doesn't mention Taliban's Afghanistan victory, and his talk of US "making its exit from Afghanistan" could have been said early as February 2020 upon Doha Agreement."

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

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"Thus, he could still be dead, though if so, would have been at some point in or after Jan 2021,"  Katz added. "The rumours of death had surfaced in December, she added. 

19) However, Zawahiri doesn't mention Taliban's Afghanistan victory, and his talk of US "making its exit from Afghanistan" could have been said early as Feb 2020 upon Doha Agreement. Thus, he could still be dead, though if so, would have been at some point in or after Jan 2021

— Rita Katz (@Rita_Katz) September 11, 2021

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"Also of note that the video uses clips from Taliban media, showing its fighters. Yet another signal of the importance of the Taliban in the global jihadist movement’s narrative since 9/11, and how the Taliban's victory in Afghanistan is also Al Qaeda's victory," the SITE Intelligence director added.

13) Also of note that the video uses clips from Taliban media, showing its fighters. Yet another signal of the importance of the Taliban in the global jihadist movement’s narrative since 9/11, and how the Taliban's victory in Afghanistan is also al-Qaeda's victory pic.twitter.com/uUiIixlrdu

— Rita Katz (@Rita_Katz) September 11, 2021

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Katz in the tweet said ISIS supporters and aligned groups are "spitefully calling 9/11 the “oxygen” that keeps Al Qaeda alive.

They challenged the group "to prove that Zawahiri is alive."

21) ISIS supporters & aligned groups, despite having less reason to celebrate today than al-Qaeda, capitalizing on 9/11 in their own way: spitefully calling 9/11 the “oxygen” that keeps al-Qaeda alive and challenge the group to prove that Zawahiri is alive https://t.co/QvDyFSA1R3

— Rita Katz (@Rita_Katz) September 11, 2021

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Zawahiri had also appeared in a video message during the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks last year.

He had succeeded Osama bin Laden after the al Qaeda chief was killed in a US raid at his hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May 2011. 

Zawahiri had reportedly sworn allegiance to Taliban's Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada.  

However, the current video released by the terror organisation has further fueled questions on Zawahiri's current state and his location with no clear evidence about the authenticity of the video.

(With inputs from Agencies)  


  

  

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