Al Qaeda leader Ayman al- Zawahiri was killed in a US strike in Afghanistan over the weekend, American President Joe Biden said on Monday.
Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon who had a $25 million bounty on his head, helped coordinate the Sept 11, 2001, attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.
US officers, speaking on the condition of obscurity, said the United States carried out a drone strike in the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday morning at 618 am original time.
“ Now justice has been delivered, and this terrorist leader is no more, ” Biden said in reflections from the White House. “ We noway back down. ”
US intelligence determined with “ high confidence ” that the man killed was Zawahiri, a elderly administration functionary told journalists. No other casualties passed.
“ Zawahiri continued to pose an active trouble to US persons, interests and public security, ” the functionary said on a conference call. “ His death deals a significant blow to al Qaeda and will degrade the group’s capability to operate. ”
There were rumors of Zawahiri’s death several times in recent times, and he was long reported to have been in poor health.
His death raises questions about whether Zawahiri entered sanctuary from the Taliban following their preemption of Kabul in August 2021. The functionary said elderly Taliban officers were apprehensive of his presence in the megacity.
The drone attack is the first known US strike inside Afghanistan since US colors and diplomats left the country in August 2021.
In a statement, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid verified that a strike took place and explosively condemned it, calling it a violation of “ transnational principles. ”
The elderly US functionary said chancing Zawahiri was the result of patient counterterrorism work. The United States linked this time that Zawahiri’s woman, son and her children had dislocated to a safe house in Kabul, also linked that Zawahiri was there as well, the functionary said.
“ Once Zawahiri arrived at the position, we aren’t apprehensive of him ever leaving the safe house, ” the functionary said. He was linked multiple times on the deck, where he was eventually struck. He continued to produce vids from the house and some may be released after his death, the functionary said.
In the last many weeks, Biden convened officers to scrutinise the intelligence. He was streamlined throughout May and June and was briefed on July 1 on a proposed operation by intelligence leaders. On July 25, he entered an streamlined report and authorised the strike once an occasion was available.
A loud explosion echoed through Kabul early Sunday morning.
“ A house was hit by a rocket in Sherpoor. There were no casualties as the house was empty, ” Abdul Nafi Takor, spokesperson of the interior ministry, said before.
One Taliban source, requesting obscurity, said there had been reports of at least one drone flying over Kabul that morning.
With other elderly al Qaeda members, Zawahiri is believed to have colluded the October 12, 2000, attack on the USS Cole nonmilitary vessel in Yemen which killed 17 US mariners and injured further than 30 others, the prices for Justice website said.
He was indicted in the United States for his role in the August 7, 1998, bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people and wounded more than 5,000 others.
Both caddy laden and Zawahiri escaped prisoner when US- led forces stumbled Afghanistan’s Taliban government in late 2001 following the Sept 11 attacks on the United States.