|“||The Sheikh has departed, may God have mercy on him, to his God as a martyr and we must continue on his path of jihad to expel the invaders from the land of Muslims and to purify it from injustice. Today, and thanks to God, America is not facing an individual or a group, but a rebelling nation, which has awoken from its sleep in a jihadist renaissance.||„|
|~ Ayman al-Zawahiri|
al-Zawahiri is reportedly a qualified surgeon; when his organization merged with bin Laden's al-Qaeda, he became bin Laden's personal adviser and physician. He had first met bin Laden in Jeddah in 1986. al-Zawahiri has shown a radical understanding of Islamic theology and Islamic history. He speaks Arabic, English and French. He is under worldwide sanctions by the United Nations Security Council 1267 Committee as a member or affiliate of al-Qaeda. In 1998, al-Zawahiri formally merged the Egyptian Islamic Jihad into al-Qaeda. According to reports by a former al-Qaeda member, he has worked in the al-Qaeda organization since its inception and was a senior member of the group's shura council. He was often described as a "lieutenant" to Osama bin Laden, though bin Laden's chosen biographer has referred to him as the "real brains" of al-Qaeda. On June 16th, 2011, al-Qaeda announced that al-Zawahiri had been selected as bin Laden's successor as al-Qaeda's former leader had been killed.