Gates: New al-Qaida chief no Osama bin Laden

June 16, 2011 - 3:00 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the new chief of al-Qaida lacks some of the characteristics of Osama bin Laden as a terror leader.

Gates says bin Laden's longtime deputy Ayman al-Zawahri (AY'-muhn ahl-ZWAH'-ree) does not have the "peculiar charisma," nor the operational experience of bin Laden, who was killed by U.S. forces last month.

Gates told a Pentagon press conference Thursday that there's also suspicion of Zawahri among militants because he is Egyptian.

Still, Gates said, the announcement of Zawahri as the terror group's new leader serves as a reminder that al-Qaida is still out there and must be pursued.