“Al Qaeda’s long-serving number two, Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahri, has taken over the leadership after the killing of Osama bin Laden, the group said on Islamist websites on Thursday [June 16, 2011]. Bin Laden’s lieutenant and the brains behind much of al Qaeda’s strategy, Zawahri vowed this month to press ahead with its campaign against the United States and its allies. ‘The general leadership of al Qaeda group, after the completion of consultation, announces that Sheikh Dr. Ayman Zawahri, may God give him success, has assumed responsibility for command of the group,’ the network said in a statement posted on Islamist websites which it often uses. A U.S. counter-terrorism official told Reuters the United States believed the announcement was genuine, but the State Department was dismissive of its significance. ‘Frankly, it barely matters,’ spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.”

 – Sara Anabtaw, “Bin Laden Deputy Zawahri to Lead al Qaeda,” Reuters, June 16, 2011