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Al Qaeda Names Ayman Al-Zawahiri as New Leader

AFP/Getty Images(ISLAMABAD) -- Ayman al-Zawahiri, the man was believed to be Osama bin Laden's top lieutenant, has been named al Qaeda's new leader, according to a statement posted online by the organization.

"Sheikh Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, may God guide him, assumed responsibility as the group's amir," the statement reads.

“We ask God for this to be a new era for al Qaeda under the leadership of Ayman Al-Zawahiri, an era that will purify Muslim land of every tyrant and infidel,” it continues.

No specifics were given as to how the 59-year-old Egyptian doctor was selected for his new title role, although the decision came as no surprise to many.  Al-Zawahiri helped found al Qaeda with bin Laden and was long speculated to succeed the leader after he was killed.

Al-Zawahiri, founder of the Egyptian extremist group Egyptian Islamic Jihad, also sports the largest bounty offered for information on any terrorist by the U.S. government -- $25 million -- and is wanted for his role in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, which claimed 224 lives.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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