Al-Qaeda has blamed ISIS’ leader for starting a civil war Islam, calling the caliphate illegitimate and informing Muslims they are not obligated to join the terror group.
Ayman al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian doctor who replaced Osama bin Laden four years ago, accused the leader of ISIS of “sedition” and insisted that al-Qaeda does not recognize Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the head of the caliphate. In May last year, al-Zawahiri called upon al-Baghdadi, who previously led an al-Qaeda affiliate in Iraq, to go back to Iraq, calling him “al-Qaeda’s rebellious soldier.”
The leader of al-Qaeda also complained that al-Baghdadi had neglected Muslims suffering in Pakistan and Gaza. “We preferred to respond with as little as possible, out of our concern to extinguish the fire of sedition, but Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his brothers did not leave us a choice […],”al-Zawahiri said via an audio message released by al-Qaeda’s official media wing.
Meanwhile, ISIS members and supporters were posting hundreds of tweets “wishing Americans a happy 9/11.” Some of them were using the hashtag #AmericanUnderHacks as a warning to American websites of possible disruptions.
Al-Qaeda has been torn apart by the rise of ISIS. The terror group drained the organization previously led by Osama bin Laden of both recruits and funding.