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Al-Qaeda appoints new leader

Egyptian-born Ayman al-Zawahiri was second-in-command under bin Laden

Al-Qaeda has reportedly appointed Ayman al-Zawahiri as its new leader after the death of Osama bin Laden.

BBC referred to a statement allegedly issued by al-Qaeda's general command, and Reuters has cited a report on Al Arabiya TV.

Al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian-born doctor, has been al-Qaeda's second-in-command and was suspected to take over control of the terrorist organization after bin Laden's death.

U.S. forces killed bin Laden in a raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 1. 

After bin Laden was killed, al-Zawahiri vowed in a video earlier this month to avenge the former leader's death and continue his jihad against the West.

"The man who terrified America in his life will continue to terrify it after his death," al-Zawahiri said, as reported by the Telegraph. "You will continue to be troubled by his famous vow: You shall not dream of security until we enjoy it and until you depart the Muslims' lands."

Al-Zawahiri, 59, is the son of an upper middle class Egyptian family, reports the Associated Press. His father was a pharmacology professor at Cairo University, and his grandfather was a grand imam.

In GlobalPost's profile of al-Zawahiri, Charles Sennott reports that what is known so far about al-Zawahiri is "nothing short of bone-chilling."

"He is a cold, efficient operator who does not have bin Laden’s ability to inspire. He is described as arrogant and egotistical and does not have the perceived piety that many supporters see in bin Laden," Sennott reports.

"But the clear goal he has been actively pursuing is to carry out an attack on America using a Weapon of Mass Destruction or, as a so-called 'dirty bomb' is often referred to, a Weapon of Mass Effect."

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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