Al-Qaeda has named Ayman al-Zawahiri as its new chief following the killing in Pakistan of long-time leader Osama bin Laden by US commandos, 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, the group's long-time number two, succeeds bin Laden who was killed by US commandos in May 2 raid in Pakistan.
The statement said that under Zawahiri's leadership Al-Qaeda would 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.
The fight would continue "until all invading armies leave the land of Islam."