Al Qaeda head calls for lone wolf attacks on US

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called for supporters to launch lone-wolf attacks against the U.S. and other Western nations in an audio recording posted on the Internet in recent days.

Zawahiri specifically called on adherents to follow the example set by the Tsarnaev brothers, who were responsible for the 2013 Boston marathon bombing.


He also sought to break down the divide betweens various Islamic extremists organizations, in an apparent bid to peel off supporters of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

"I call on all Muslims who can harm the countries of the crusader coalition not to hesitate,” Zawahiri said, according to Reuters. “We must now focus on moving the war to the heart of the homes and cities of the crusader West and specifically America.” 

Zawahiri repeated his opinion of ISIS, which he has called illegitimate, yet also pledged to work alongside them against the West.

Al Qaeda has been overshadowed in recent months, as ISIS’s brutality and ability to secure large swaths of Iraq and Syria have made it the largest specter of Islamic extremism. U.S. officials have grown increasingly concerned about the ability of ISIS's followers to grow radicalized through the group's online propaganda and launch lone-wolf attacks at home. 

Still, top intelligence officials say that al Qaeda — which was responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks — and its offshoots pose the most serious threat to the U.S. 

The new recording is the second recent release from Zawahiri, who had previously been silent for 11 months.

In August, he issued a video pledging loyalty to the new leader of the Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Manoor.