In this image from television transmitted by Al-Jazeera on Jan. 30, 2006, Ayman al-Zawahiri gestures while addressing the camera. — Photo by AP

DUBAI: Al Qaeda on Thursday named Ayman al-Zawahiri as its new chief to succeed the slain Osama bin Laden and vowed there will be no let up in its “jihad' against the United States and Israel”.

“The general command of al Qaeda announces, after consultations, the appointment of Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri as head of the group,” the network said in statement posted on a militant 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”.

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