A militant Sunni Islamist chief, who many thought was dead, made a video appearance on Sept. 11.
Ayman al-Zawahri’s video message on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 caught some observers off-guard.
The al-Qaeda leader, who was previously rumored to have died several month ago, praised the terrorist group’s January attacks on Russian troops near Raqqa city, Syria.
al-Zawahri also cited SITE Intelligence Group data about jihadist websites to express his views about the Holy City following Jewish traditions. He claimed Jerusalem will never be Judaized according to Politico.
He did not mention of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August, and only noted the U.S. withdrawal. SITE suspects the speech was not recorded recently since the withdrawal agreement was signed back in February 2020. This prompted the group to conclude there is no way to verify if the leader is dead or alive.
“He could still be dead though,” SITE director Rita Katz said on Twitter. “If so, it would have been at some point in, or after, January 2021.”
The Egyptian national rose to al-Qaeda’s top ranks after U.S. Navy SEALs killed founding leader Osama bin Laden during 2011.
The video, which lasted more than 61 minutes, was produced by as-Sahab Media Foundation.