A US drone strike in Afghanistan over the weekend killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri. Zawahiri, 71, was killed in the strike without any civilian casualties.
President Joe Biden delivered an address and confirmed the death of the al-Qaeda leader on Monday evening at 7:30 pm Washington time.
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Zawahiri was born into an affluent Egyptian family of academicians and an ambassador and went on to become a surgeon. He established the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which intended to destabilise the country’s security administration. In 1998, the organisation joined with al-Qaeda.
US prosecutors charged Zawahiri with involvement in the 1998 terrorist attacks on the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. He took over al-Qaeda’s leadership in 2011, shortly after American forces killed the group’s founder, Osama bin Laden, in Pakistan.
The State Department had promised up to $25 million in reward money for information leading to Zawahiri’s detention.
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Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters that senators have been informed of the United States’ counterterrorism effort. He would not confirm the target, but he did say, “I think it will be welcome news to Americans.”
A successful operation will allow the Biden administration to claim justification for its disputed guarantee that the US will be able to strike terrorist targets even after withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan.
On Monday, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s Taliban leaders announced on Twitter that a US attack had hit a house in Kabul’s Sherpur area.
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According to Zabihullah Mujahed, the spokesman, “The security and intelligence agencies of the Islamic Emirate investigated the incident and found that the attack was carried out by American drones.” He didn’t say anything about casualties. The attack, he said, was a “clear violation of international principles.”