Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has announced a new branch of his group in India, saying that it will “raise the flag of jihad” across South Asia.
In a 55-minute video posted online, Zawahari also renewed his pledge of loyalty to Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
BBC News said his statement of allegiance is an apparent snub to the Islamic State (IS), which is challenging his group for global leadership of the militant Islamist movement.
“[Al-Qaeda] is an entity that was formed to promulgate the call of the reviving imam, Sheikh Osama Bin Laden. May Allah have mercy upon him,” Zawahiri said.
Zawahiri said “al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent” would be good news for Muslims in Burma, Bangladesh and in the Indian states of Assam, Gujarat, and Jammu and Kashmir, where they would be rescued from injustice and oppression.
IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has described himself as a “caliph”, or head of state, and has called for the support of all Muslims around the world.
The two groups fell out in 2013 over the IS expansion into Syria, where Baghdadi’s followers have waged a horrific campaign of beheadings, crucifixions and mass executions, the report said.
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