NAIROBI, Kenya - Al Qaeda's leader says that the Somali militant group al-Shabab has formally joined al Qaeda.
A video translation by the Site Intelligence group released on Thursday said that al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri gave "glad tidings" that al-Shabab had joined al Qaeda.
Al-Zawahri said al-Shabab would support the jihad movement against what he called the "Zio-Crusader campaign."
Al-Shabab leaders have pledged allegiance to al Qaeda in the past, but the video which was posted on an Islamic Internet forum on Thursday is the first formal welcoming of al-Shabab by al Qaeda.
The al-Shabab-al Qaeda alliance in Somalia counts hundreds of foreign fighters among its ranks.
The group is already on the U.S. State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations, and al-Shabab has publicly aligned itself with international jihad as espoused by al Qaeda since at least 2010.
In a video posted on jihadist websites the groups declared at the time, "We are your soldiers, O Osama."