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Ayman al-Zawahiri killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan

Eric Sof

One of the last plotters of 9/11 and the last leader of Al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has been killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan. The successor of the notorious Osama bin Laden was killed in a counter-terrorism operation carried out by the CIA in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Sunday. US President John Biden confirmed this in a speech from the White House.

According to the US president, Zawahiri had “carved a trail of murder and violence against American citizens.” “Now justice has been delivered, and this terrorist leader is no more,” he added.

bin Laden deputy and last Al-Qaeda leader

Zawahiri, who had just turned 71 years old, had remained a visible international symbol of the group 11 years after the US killed Osama bin Laden. At one point, he acted as bin Laden’s physician.

Zawahiri comes from a distinguished Egyptian family. Rabia’a al-Zawahiri’s grandfather was an imam at al-Azhar University in Cairo. His great-uncle, Abdel Rahman Azzam, was the first secretary of the Arab League. He eventually helped to mastermind the deadliest terror attack on American soil when hijackers turned US airliners into missiles. He was an eye surgeon who also helped found the Egyptian Islamic Jihad militant group in the years before his affiliations with al-Qaeda.

Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri together declared war on the US and organized the 9/11 attacks
Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri together declared war on the US and organized the 9/11 attacks (Photo: Reuters)

“Those 19 brothers who went out and gave their souls to Allah almighty, God almighty has granted them this victory we are enjoying now,” al-Zawahiri said in a videotaped message released in April 2002. It was the first of many taunting messages the terrorist — who became al Qaeda’s leader after US forces killed bin Laden in 2011 — would send out over the years, urging militants to continue the fight against America and chiding US leaders.

Zawahiri had also masterminded other acts of violence, including the suicide bombing of the USS Cole naval destroyer in Aden in October 2000, which killed 17 US sailors.

Drone strike

According to the sources, The drone strike was conducted at 9:48 p.m. ET on Saturday when the al-Qaeda leader was on the balcony of a safe house. The drone fired two Hellfire missiles and killed Ayman al-Zawahiri. Even though the other family members were present at the scene, no other casualties except al-Zawahiri have not been reported.

Biden authorized the strike following weeks of meetings with his Cabinet and key advisers, the official said on Monday, adding that no American personnel was on the ground in Kabul at the time of the strike.

The life and death of notorious terrorist: Osama bin Laden, the Al Qaeda founder and world's most wanted terrorist
The life and death of notorious terrorist Osama bin Laden the Al Qaeda founder and world8217s most wanted terrorist Photo XY

President Biden said he had given the final approval for the “precision strike” on the 71-year-old al-Qaeda leader. Ayman al-Zawahiri took over al-Qaeda after the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011. He and Bin Laden plotted the 9/11 attacks together, and he was one of the US’s “most wanted terrorists.”

The killing of the al-Qaeda leader would bring closure to families of the victims of the 2001 attacks, John Biden said.

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