Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri killed in US strike in Afghanistan

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Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri

Washington: The United States killed Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a strike in Afghanistan over the weekend, President Joe Biden said on Monday, the biggest blow to the militant group since its founder Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011.

Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon, who had a $25 million bounty on his head, helped coordinate September 11, 2001, attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

US officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Zawahiri died after a US drone strike in the Afghan capital Kabul at 6:18 a.m. (0148 GMT) on Sunday.

“Now justice has been delivered, and this terrorist leader is no more. No matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out,” President Biden said.

US intelligence determined with “high confidence” through multiple intelligence streams that the man killed was Zawahiri, one senior administration official told reporters. He was killed on the balcony of a “safe house” in Kabul that he shared with other members of his family. There were no other casualties.

Biden said Zawahiri had been the mastermind behind or played a key role in attacks on the USS Cole and U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

“Zawahiri continued to pose an active threat to U.S. persons, interests and national security,” the official said on a conference call. “His death deals a significant blow to al Qaeda and will degrade the group’s ability to operate.”

There were rumours of Zawahiri’s death several times in recent years, and he was long reported to have been in poor health. – Agencies

Read: Al-Qaeda chief Ayman Al-Zawahiri has passed away

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