The Pakistani Arab News announced that Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri died of natural causes in Afghanistan, citing unidentified security sources in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Arab News reported citing an anonymous al-Qaida interpreter that 69-year-old al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian-trained physician who rose to the top of the Islamic terrorist group when founder Osama bin Laden was killed by Navy SEALs in 2011, died earlier this month of asthma in Ghazni.
An al-Qaida source also cited the publication saying al-Zawahiri died of' "breathing problems"' somewhere in Afghanistan.
A Pakistani security official based in the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan verified the claims.
"We believe that he is not alive anymore," he said. " We firmly believe that he died of natural causes."
The accusation comes within a week of news that al-second Qaeda's in command, Abu Muhammad al-Masri, was killed in August by Israeli agents in Iran using US intelligence.
Arab News cited "a source close to al-Qaida in Afghanistan" that al-funeral Zawahiri's prayers had been attended by a small number of followers, but did not specify if it was a memorial service or one held at his burial.
A spokesman for Afghanistan's National Security Directorate told Arab News that he was unaware of the al-Zawahiri death allegations and had no comment on the matter.