The long-serving second-in-command of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has been appointed its head following the death of Osama Bin Laden, the militant organisation said in a statement.
Bin Laden was killed by US forces in Pakistan in early May.
Al-Qaeda warned it would continue to fight a holy war against the US and Israel under Zawahiri’s direction.
Analysts say Egyptian-born Zawahiri, 59, is intelligent but lacks the charisma of his predecessor.
He is claimed by some experts to have been the “operational brains” behind the 9/11 attacks on the US.
For years Bin Laden’s deputy, with a $25m (Â£15m) bounty on his head, he had been widely anticipated to replace Bin Laden at the helm.
The statement announcing his appointment was posted on a militant website and attributed to al-Qaeda’s General Command.
“Sheikh Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, may God guide him, assumed responsibility as the group’s amir [leader]”, it said.
It vowed that under Zawahiri, it would pursue jihad or holy war against the US and Israel “until all invading armies leave the land of Islam”.
Zawahiri, whose 60th birthday is believed to be this Sunday, warned just over a week ago that Bin Laden would continue to “terrify” the US from beyond the grave….
Great. We’ll be on the lookout for Thriller-zombie bin Laden.