Bin Laden’s deputy steps up at al-Qa’ida leader

AN al-Qa’ida-affiliated website says Egypt-born Ayman al-Zawahri has succeeded Osama bin Laden as head of the terror network.

Bin Laden was killed in a US commando raid in Pakistan last month. Al-Zawahri, who will turn 60 next week, had been bin Laden’s second in command for the past two years.

“The general command of al-Qa’ida announces, after consultations, the appointment of Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri as head of the group,” said the statement, issued in the name of the general command and posted on an Islamist website.

Under its new leader the terror group has vowed to continue to pursue its 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,” it said in a statement.

Al-Zawahri is the son of an upper middle class Egyptian family of doctors and scholars. His father was a pharmacology professor at Cairo University’s medical school and his grandfather was the grand imam of Al-Azhar University, a premier center of religious study.

The announcement was posted today on a website known to be affiliated with the terror network.

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