Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri may be dead or at least appears to be “completely off the grid,” according to journalist and veteran jihadi-watcher Hassan Hassan. These reports come at the same time as the killing of another very senior al-Qaida leader, Abu Muhammad al-Masri, in Tehran, reportedly by Israeli agents at the behest of the United States.
If Zawahri is dead, where will al-Qaida go next and what kind of movement will Zawahri’s successor inherit?
Zawahri, the long-time Egyptian terrorist leader and Osama bin Laden’s number two, assumed control of al-Qaida after U.S. Navy Seals killed bin Laden in 2011. Zawahri has been praised as a “mastermind” and criticized as a leader.