Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is reportedly suffering from an undisclosed, but potentially debilitating heart condition and may be in poor overall health, The Hill reported Thursday, citing a senior counterterrorism official.
Speaking to the media, the official said it is unclear how his health would impact the terror group at this time or in the future.
Earlier this summer, the United Nations Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team released a report saying that “Al-Qaeda remains resilient, although the health and longevity of its leader, Aiman Muhammed Rabi al-Zawahiri, and how the succession will work are in doubt".
The news comes in the wake of reports that Hamza bin Laden, the son of the former leader of al-Qaeda Osama bin Laden, may have been killed. Some reports indicate that Hamza enjoyed support among his fellow terrorists and was a potential candidate to lead the group in the future.
Three US officials on Wednesday confirmed to NBC News that Washington believes the younger bin Laden is dead, without providing additional information.
According to a UN report, al-Qaeda currently operates mostly in Afghanistan, where it enjoys close ties with the Taliban movement and other groups.
"Al-Qaeda continues to cooperate closely with Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Haqqani Network. Al-Qaeda members continue to function routinely as military and religious instructors for the Taliban", the report said.