An Islamist website announced that Ayman Al-Zawahri, Egyptian-born physician and surgeon has taken command of the global militant Sunni Islamist group, on June 16.
Mr. Zawahri, once Bin Laden's lieutenant and the person behind many of Al Qaeda's plans, has said that he will go forward with Al Qaeda's campaign against the United States and its allies.
”The general leadership of al Qaeda group after the completion of consultation, announces that Sheikh Dr. Ayman Zawahri, may God give him success, has assumed responsibility for command of the group," the Islamist website Ansar al-Mujahideen (Followers of the Holy Warriors) said in a statement.
Mr. Zawahri who is in his late-50s, was born into an upper-class family of scholars and doctors in an upscale Cairo neighborhood, the cerebral Egyptian, is second after Mr. Bin Laden on the FBI “most wanted terrorists” list.
He has repeatedly called for Al Qaeda to seize control of a state, a goal the group has never come close to despite its alliance with Afghanistan's late 1990s Taliban rulers.
Mr. Zawahiri is believed to be in hiding along the rocky Afghan-Pakistan border.