Washington: Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed on Saturday in an air strike by the United States, US President Joe Biden confirmed on Monday (local time).
“On Saturday, at my direction, the United States successfully concluded an air strike in Kabul, Afghanistan and killed Al Qaeda Amir Ayman al-Zawahiri,” Biden said in a media briefing.
The US President said that justice has been delivered, adding, “No matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the US will find you and take you out.”
“He carved a trail of murder and violence against American citizens, American service members, American diplomats, and American interests. Zawahri was Bin Laden’s leader, his number two man, and his deputy during the time of terrorist attacks on 9/11. He was deeply involved in the planning of 9/11,” Biden said.
WHO WAS AYMAN AL-ZAWAHIRI?
- He was the Al Qaeda chief and key plotter of the 9/11 terrorist attack.
- 11 years after Laden was killed, Zawahiri had become an international symbol of the group, and a global terrorist with a reward of $25 million on his head.
- Born in an Egyptian middle-class family of scholars and doctors, Zawahiri grew up to be a doctor.
- Zawahiri served three years as a surgeon in the Egyptian Army, but his journey from an eye surgeon to becoming a most wanted global terrorist started after he met Laden in 1986.
- In 1993, he took over the leadership of Islamic Jihad in Egypt and became a leading figure in a campaign in the mid-1990s to overthrow the government and set up a purist Islamic state. He was found to be involved in the killing of over 1,200 Egyptians.
- Years later, Zawahiri became number two on the list of “most wanted terrorists” announced by the US government in 2001.
Zawahiri’s targeted killing comes a year after the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s takeover of the country.