The White House has announced that the CIA have killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a drone attack.
Washington (4/8 – 25). Over the weekend, the CIA had conducted a “anti-terror operation against a major target within al-Qaeda” in the Afghan capital of Kabul.
The target of which was Ayman al-Zawahiri, the terrorist group’s leader, who was killed during a drone strike, during which there were no civilian deaths, according to American reports.
The strike, carried out by a CIA-operated Air Force drone, occurred at 6:18 a.m. Sunday local time in Kabul as the al Qaeda leader stood on the balcony of his house, the official said. A person familiar with the operation separately said it took “a few days” to confirm the killing because the U.S. doesn’t “have many assets on the ground.”
“This year, we identified that Zawahri’s family — his wife, his daughter, and her children — relocated to a safe house in Kabul,” the official said. “We then identified Zawahri at the location in Kabul through layering multiple streams of intelligence.” The terrorist leader’s habit of standing on his balcony allowed the U.S. to observe him and confirm his identity.
The Egyptian is believed to be the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks that claimed over 3,000 lives in the United States and had succeeded Osama bin Laden as leader of al-Qaeda, following his death in 2011.
During a speech from the White House on Monday evening (local time), US President Joe Biden confirmed this information, stating that his death would offer ‘closure’ to relatives of 9/11 victims.
In late 2020, sources once gave credit to rumours that he died of heart disease, but he then resurfaced in a video.
He was last seen in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he was said to be in ill health according to a UN report.
Al-Qaeda had already lost its number 2, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, in August 2020 who was killed in the streets of Tehran by Israeli agents, the New York Times reported at the time.
However, this is the first known American attack on Afghan soil since the Taliban took power there in August of last year.