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Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri killed by US drone strike in Afghanistan, Biden says | US News

US President Joe Biden has confirmed that al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has been killed in a US airstrike in Afghanistan.

Al-Zawahiri was on the balcony of his downtown Kabul hideout when he was killed by two Hellfire missiles fired from a drone on Sunday morning.

The FBI had offered $25 million (£20 million) for “information leading to arrest or conviction” of the 71-year-old. It was al-Qaeda’s biggest blow since its founder Osama bin Laden was killed by US special forces. in 2011.

The operation to kill the al Qaeda leader, who was one of the masterminds of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, had been in the planning stages for months, according to senior US officials.

Biden was first briefed on a proposed operation to remove al-Qaeda leaders on July 1 of this year.

However, it was much earlier this year when intelligence agencies suggested that his wife and children had moved to Kabul. He and his family were believed to have been hiding in Pakistan until that point.

The family lived in a safe house, US officials said, and Zawahiri was eventually found.

He was observed for several months and his life patterns recorded. Although he never left the house, he spent time on the balcony and was eventually killed.

Biden began addressing the nation at 7:30pm (12:30am UK time) in Washington DC.

A senior Biden administration official said, “The United States conducted a counter-terrorism operation against a key al-Qaeda target in Afghanistan last weekend.

“The operation was successful and there were no civilian casualties.”

Biden speaks from the balcony of the White House’s Blue Room.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid condemned the strike and condemned it as a violation of “international principles”.

image:
Ayman Al-Zawahiri (right) with Osama bin Laden in an image that appeared in November 2001

In his Aug. 31, 2021 speech, after the last U.S. troops left Afghanistan, Mr. Biden said the U.S. would not stop fighting terrorism in the country or elsewhere.

“We will continue to fight terrorism in Afghanistan and other countries,” he said.

“You don’t have to fight a ground battle to do that.”

Biden predicted the airstrikes in 11 months, saying at the time: .”

Analysis: Biden will point to this as evidence that the US will not allow Afghanistan to become a safe haven for terrorists

This is the most important “acquisition” for Americans since US SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in his Pakistani hideout in 2011.

Ayman Al-Zawahiri was literally bin Laden’s right-hand man, and when the 9/11 mastermind was killed, he became the leader, but was a phantom until this weekend.

The 71-year-old man is widely believed to have been hiding out somewhere in Pakistan, making his murder in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, all the more surprising.

In recent years, he has not been an active figure, but has served as an ever-present figurehead for an organization that has never changed its anti-Western ambitions.

Americans say drones were used in the operation to kill him. This is important. Since the United States withdrew from Afghanistan last summer, U.S. forces have been forced to conduct counterterrorism operations and eliminate perceived threats beyond the Afghan border.

During the chaotic withdrawal, American officials claimed that operations “beyond the horizon” were effective.

President Biden has repeatedly said he will not allow Afghanistan to become a safe haven for terrorists.

He now points to this operation as proof of that.

Al-Zawahiri helped coordinate the 9/11 attacks in which four airliners were hijacked and flown to both towers of the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania Field.

About 3,000 people were killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

He was also indicted in the US for his involvement in the August 7, 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya.

This Egyptian was bin Laden’s personal physician, then became his deputy and eventually his successor.

Al-Zawahiri is reportedly the brain behind some of the group’s greatest ambitions, including the terrorist group’s failed attempts to acquire nuclear and biological weapons. .

In recent years, he presided over al Qaeda during its decline, with most of the group’s founders dead or covered up.

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