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The ‘changing’ face of al-Qaeda

According to terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna, Ayman al-Zawahiri is even more lethal than Osama bin Laden. ‘Goal-orientated, systematic, secretive and forward thinking’, Zawahiri’s accession as al-Qaeda’s leader marks the return of al-Qaeda with a vengeance. Certainly, Zawahiri has applied his discipline and notable intellect to the cause of jihad since he was 16 years old. A prolific propagandist, he has penned some of the most influential extremist tracts, including important theological justifications for suicide bombing. His charisma, however, is more open to doubt – as are his battlefield credentials. The veteran jihadi Abdullah Anas argues that Zawahiri has no credibility. During the…