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Al Qaeda Leader Al-Zawahiri Declares War on ISIS ‘Caliph’ Al-Baghdadi

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James Gordon Meek
ABC News
September 11, 2015

Just ahead of the fourteenth anniversary of al Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks on the U.S., the leader of the terrorist group took aim in an angry speech at a mortal enemy — but not American “crusaders” this time.

Rather, the object of his tirade was the leader of ISIS in a declaration of war that will “irreconcilably” divide the two terror groups in a way the U.S. may be able to exploit, experts say.

Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian doctor who replaced Osama bin Laden as the head of al Qaeda four years ago, in a new audio message accused ISIS top leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of “sedition” and insisted the Iraqi terrorist recluse was not the leader of all Muslims and militant jihad as “caliph” of the Islamic State, as al-Baghdadi had claimed 14 months ago in a Mosul mosque.

“It’s pretty interesting,” said former National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen. “Zawahiri until now has not been willing to openly condemn Baghdadi and ISIS. It highlights how deep the division is between al Qaeda leadership and ISIS. It suggests that the differences are irreconcilable.”

Had ISIS and al Qaeda realigned by joining forces, it “would be terrible,” said Olsen, an ABC News contributor.

That division — now formally declared by the highest ranking official of the group that slaughtered almost 3,000 Americans 14 years ago in multi-pronged aviation attacks — could provide an opening that American counter-terrorism operatives could find a way to exploit, he added.

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This article was posted: Friday, September 11, 2015 at 11:52 am





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