AFP: Zawahiri named new Qaeda chief: statement DUBAI â€” Al-Qaeda has named Ayman al-Zawahiri as its new chief following the killing of long-time leader Osama bin Laden by US commandos in May 2 raid in Pakistan, the jihadists said in a statement Thursday. "The general command of Al-Qaeda announces, after consultations, the appointment of Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri as head of the group," said the statement, issued in the name of the general command and posted on an Islamist website. Zawahiri has been Al-Qaeda's number two for years. Al-Qaeda said under the leadership of Zawahiri it will pursue its 'jihad' (holy war) against the United States and Israel. "We seek with the aid of God to call for the religion of truth and incite our nation to fight ... by carrying out jihad against the apostate invaders ... with their head being crusader America and its servant Israel, and whoever supports them," said the statement.