Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was seen in a new video on Saturday, following rumors that he had died. The footage wsas released on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks the online activity of jihadist groups, reported that in a video released by al-Qaeda, al-Zawahiri spoke on a number of subjects including the “Judaization of Jerusalem.”
Although the video was released on Saturday, al-Zawahri made no mention of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, Rita Katz, SITE’s director noted.
Al-Zawahiri made references to a raid on a Russian military base by the al-Qaeda-linked Hurras al-Deen group in Syria, which it claimed on January 1, 2021, Katz added.
Al-Zawahiri also talked about the United States withdrawal from Afghanistan, but Katz pointed out that it could have been said long ago following the signing of the Doha Agreement, in which the US pledged to remove its troops from the country.
“Thus, he could still be dead, though if so, would have been at some point in or after Jan 2021,” Katz tweeted.
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
Rumors of al-Zawahiri’s death have recirculated every few years, but experts have said that he is not in good health.
Al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian who became leader after Osama bin Laden’s death, has faded in prominence in recent years.
But the extremist group that once used Afghanistan as a staging base to attack the US 20 years ago may attempt to regenerate there, following the American withdrawal that has left the Taliban in power, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned on Thursday.