Al Qaeda leader Zawahiri killed in US strike in Afghanistan
WASHINGTON: Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, who played central role in 9/11 attacks and later created the terror group’s regional affiliate in the Indian subcontinent, has been killed in a US “precision strike” in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, in the biggest blow to the global terror network since killing of its founder Osama bin Laden in 2011 in Pakistan.
The 71-year-old Egyptian surgeon, who had a US$ 25 million bounty on his head, was bin Laden’s second-in-command during 9/11 attacks and took over as the head of al-Qaeda after his death. He remained a visible international symbol of the terror group, 11 years after the US killed bin Laden during a raid in Pakistan’s Abbottabad in May 2011.
“I authorised a precision strike that would remove him from the battlefield, once and for all,” Biden said on Monday in a speech from the White House.
According to officials, Zawahiri was on the balcony of a safe house when the drone fired two missiles at him. Other family members were present, but they were unharmed and only Zawahiri was killed.
“He was deeply involved in the planning of 9/11, one of the most responsible for the attacks that murdered 2,977 people on American soil. For decades, he was the mastermind of attacks against Americans,” said Biden.
The US president was kept abreast of the strike against Zawahiri as he was isolated with a rebound case of Covid-19. Biden spoke outdoors on Monday from the Blue Room Balcony at the White House.
“Now, justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more. People around the world no longer need to fear the vicious and determined killer,” Biden said.