AL QAEDA’S leader was killed in a US drone strike, Biden administration announced.
Ayman Al-Zawahiri, 71, who founded the terrorist group behind the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, was taken out during an attack on the Afghan capital, Kabul. .
Known as ‘The Doctor’ or ‘Doctor Death’, Al-Zawahiri is believed to be the mastermind behind the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya and is on the United States’ most wanted list. FBI.
The Al Qaeda leader, who took over from Osama bin Laden after he was killed in 2011, has a $25 million bounty on his head.
A senior Biden official said in a statement that the Egyptian-born terrorist was killed over the weekend in a “counterterrorism operation against an important Al Qaeda target in Afghanistan.”
They added that “the operation was successful and there were no civilian casualties”.
President Biden confirmed Al-Zawahiri’s death in a speech from the White House on Monday night Eastern Time.
“If you’re a threat to our people, we’ll find you and get you out,” he said.
Biden added that Al-Zawahiri was “deeply involved in 9/11 planning,” describing him as “the mastermind behind attacks against Americans, including the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000 to kill 17 American sailors and injure dozens more”.
The US president confirmed that the Al Qaeda leader was killed by two hellfire missiles in a July 31 air strike in Kabul coordinated by the CIA.
“Now justice has been delivered,” he concluded.
He was speaking from the balcony outside the White House Blue Room as he remained in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19 again over the weekend just weeks after it became clear.
Al-Zawahiri took over bin Laden in June 2011, a month after the terrorist leader was shot dead by US forces at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
It comes less than a year after Al-Zawahiri last appeared in public in a sick video on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, following reports that he had died in 2020. .
In the propaganda video, the jihadist praises the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, though there is no mention of the Taliban taking over the country.
Just last month, the United Nations reported that Al-Zawahiri was “alive” and “communicating freely”, following speculation about his health.
If you are a threat to our people, we will find you and get you out
President Joe Biden
“Member States noted that al-Zawahiri’s apparent increased comfort and ability to communicate coincided with the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and consolidation of key power. [Al Qaeda] Allies in their own administration,” the UN Sanctions and Analysis Support Monitoring Group said in its report.
The last American soldiers withdrew from Afghanistan on August 31 of last year, with the once defeated Taliban quickly overwhelming the Afghan army to regain control of the country.
However, President Biden at the time insisted that the US could still fight terrorism in Afghanistan without troops on the ground.
“We will maintain the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and other countries,” he said. “We don’t have to fight on land to do that.”
In a stark harbinger of a drone strike last weekend, he added: “We have what’s called over-the-horizon capability, which means we can attack attack terrorists and targets without American support – or very little if needed.”
The Taliban reacted to news of the drone strike, condemning the attack and calling it a “clear violation of international principles”.
Among those believed to have been killed in the drone attack was the son and son-in-law of Taliban Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani.
Images shared in local Afghan media purportedly show Haqqani’s bombed-out home in the Shirpur area of Kabul near the presidential palace.
Hundreds of armed Taliban fighters were seen on rooftops around the site of the previous attack.
Former Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney served under President George W Bush during the 2001 attacks and after the ‘War on Terror’.
He told Fox News Digital in response to the news: “It’s good we got him, I haven’t been in business for years, so I’m waiting to find out all the facts.”
Last month’s UN report gave some insight into who might be willing to take over Al-Zawahiri as head of Al Qaeda.
His second-in-command was Saif al Adel, 62, a veteran and longtime Al Qaeda leader who is also believed to have planned the embassy bombings in 1998.
Al Adel – a former Egyptian army colonel and explosives expert who took refuge in Iran with other key jihadists – is also believed to be in Afghanistan.
One possible future leader is Abdal-Rahman al-Maghrebi – Zawahiri’s son-in-law.
The native Moroccan, believed to be around 51 or 52 years old, has held a number of senior roles within Al Qaeda and is described by the US State Department as a “longtime director” of Al Qaeda’s media wing As Sahab .
He has also been the “general manager” of the group in Afghanistan and Pakistan for the past 10 years.
Followed by Yazib Mebrak, the emir of Al Qaeda in North Africa, and Ahmed Diriye, the leader of Shabaab, the terrorist group’s East African branch.
The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has created new opportunities for Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups to grow and regroup, as they plot new attacks on the West, the Long War Journal reported.