Al-Qaeda leader who took over after Osama bin Laden has died of natural causes
Pakistani media has confirmed that Ayman al-Zawahiri, the al-Qaeda chief who took over as leader when Osama bin Laden was killed, has died from asthma-related complications following ‘breathing issues’.
Security sources in Pakistan and Afghanistan have incorrectly reported the Egyptian-born doctor’s death several times in the past, but a Pakistani security official in tribal areas near the Afghan border told Arab News on November 20 ‘we are firm that he has died of natural causes’ following persistent rumours.
Western security experts and officials have yet to confirm Zawahiri’s death, but Rita Katz, the head of jihadism monitoring group SITE, said last week that it was ‘very plausible’.
‘It is very typical of al-Qaeda to not publish news about the death of its leaders in a timely manner,’ she said.
Zawahiri was Osama bin Laden’s second-in-command before the terrorist leader’s death in 2011, and was last heard from in a message on the anniversary of 9/11.
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