Al-Qaeda has selected Ayman al-Zawahri to succeed Osama bin Laden, al-Arabiya television reported on Thursday.
Al-Zawahiri was bin Laden's longtime deputy. He is believed to be operating from somewhere near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
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"The general command of al-Qaeda announces after consultations, the appointment of Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri to the head of the organization," a statement posted on a website affiliated with the terror group, said.
Zawahiri has already vowed that "al-Qaeda will continue the jihad against the United States and Israel."
Al-Qaeda offered no details about the selection process, but said that it was the best tribute to the memory of its "martyrs."
The statement announcing the succession was further filled with the terror network's usual rhetoric, vowing to continue the fight against what it called "conquering infidels, led by America and its stooge Israel, who attack the homes of Islam."
The group also said it will never accept Israel's legitimacy and will continue to support Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq and North Africa.
Ayman al-Zawahri, who will turn 60 next week, is the son of an upper-middle-class Egyptian family of doctors and scholars.
His father was a pharmacology professor at Cairo University's medical school and his grandfather was the grand imam of Al-Azhar University, a premier center of religious study.
Al-Zawahiri is an Islamic theologian and a qualified surgeon; he is married and the father of four.
As bin Laden's second in command, Zawahri was – and is – one of the world's most wanted men. There is a $25 million bounty on his head.
Roee Nahmias, AP and Reuters contributed to this report
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