Following rumors of Ayman Al Zawahiri’s death, SITE Intelligence Group, a U.S.-based group that monitors terrorist websites, found a video on April 5 showing the Al Qaeda leader alive and alluding to a recent event.
In the video, the terrorist is shown congratulating an Indian Muslim woman who, in February this year, defied a ban on wearing the hijab in schools in the state of Karnataka, India.
SITE director Rita Katz posted the images on her Twitter feed and wrote, “LATEST: New video speech by al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri seems to confirm that he is alive, given the reference to demonstrations in India about women wearing hijabs, which emerged in early 2022. He even makes reference to a specific event in February 2022.”
The last information SITE had on Ayman Al-Zawahiri was circulated on the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2021, when the terrorist made mention of the Jan. 1, 2021 attack on Russian troops outside the northern Syrian city Raqqa. However, according to AP, SITE had no confirmation of the exact date of when the video.
Katz had tweeted, “He could still be dead, though if so, it would have been sometime in or after January 2021.”
On Sept. 11, 2021, Katz also explained that al-Zawahiri did not mention a Taliban victory in Afghanistan and only spoke of U.S. forces leaving the country, interpreting that the video could have been from 2020, after the Doha Agreement.
When Osama Bin Laden, mastermind of the 9/11 attacks in the United States, was killed by U.S. Navy SEALS in Abbottabad, Pakistan, Al-Zawahri assumed leadership of Al Qaeda.
Al-Zawahri is still believed to be in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region in the mountain ranges, which have served as a safe haven for terrorists. According to the AP, that area has many strongholds and caves where various terrorist groups once hid.
Unfortunately, in the latest video, they were unable to discover the exact location of the terrorist.
Currently one of the most wanted terrorists, the United States offers a $25 million reward for any information on the Taliban leader. He is accused of masterminding the Oct. 12, 2000, attack on the Navy destroyer Cole in Yemen, which killed 17 U.S. sailors and wounded more than 30. He is also accused of helping coordinate the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, leaving nearly 3,000 dead.
The Rewards for Justice website reported that he is also held responsible for the Aug. 7, 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people and wounded more than 5,000.