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US claims killing Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in drone strike

US believes Al-Zawahiri had overseen the September 11 twin-tower attacks on New York in 2001

Tuesday August 2, 2022 9:53 AM, ummid.com with inputs from IANS

Zahrawi Killed

Washington: The United States claimed killing top Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a drone strike in Afghanistan over the weekend dealing the group a major blow, confirms President Joe Biden.

US believes Al-Zawahiri had overseen the September 11 twin-tower attacks on New York in 2001, that killed 2,977 people, along with Osama bin-Laden, who was killed by the US in 2011 in Pakistan.

Al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian by birth who had trained to be a medical doctor, had a US reward of $25 million for information leading to his capture. The US holds him responsible also for the bombing of its embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and on its naval ship USS Cole in 2000.

According to reports, Al-Zawahiri was killed by two Hellfire missiles fired at him from a CIA-run drone while he was on the balcony of a house in Kabul where he had been staying with his family.


"No members of his family or other civilians were wounded or killed in the strike", the US officials who briefed reporters said.

President Biden said in an address to the nation that US intelligence had tracked the Al Qaeda leader to Afghanistan early in the year and he gave the go ahead to the operation to kill al-Zawahiri a week ago on July 25.

Officials said Biden reviewed a model of the house early in July to make sure there were no collateral casualties.

"Our intelligence community located Zawahiri earlier this year," Biden, who is dealing with "rebound positivity" of Covid-19, said in his address.

"He had moved to downtown Kabul to reunite with members of his immediate family. After carefully considering clear and convincing evidence of his location, I authorised a precision strike that would remove him from the battlefield once and for all."

Biden added:

"This mission was carefully planned, rigorously minimising the risk of harm to other civilians. And one week ago, after being advised the conditions were optimal, I gave the final approval to go get him and the mission was a success."

The US studied Zawahiri's behaviour and that of his family members for weeks -- the women in the family took circuitous routes from and to home to avoid trackers, for instance -- to reduce the possibility of hitting others.

The latest strike came around a year after the US left Afghanistan.


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