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Al-Qaida Leader Ayman al-Zawahiri Killed in US Drone Strike
Ayman al-Zawahiri (R) sits with Osama bin Laden during an interview with Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir (not pictured), Nov. 8, 2001. (Hamid Mir/Creative Commons)

Al-Qaida Leader Ayman al-Zawahiri Killed in US Drone Strike

The US military killed top al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday, President Joe Biden revealed on Monday. “For decades he was the mastermind behind attacks against Americans,” President Biden said. Al-Zawahiri is considered a key strategist behind the 9-11 attacks in the US and was involved in planning the suicide attack on the USS Cole in 2000, which killed 17 US Navy sailors, and the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224 people and injured more than 4,000. He has been the leader of al-Qaida since Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces in 2011. “We make it clear again tonight that, 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. According to a senior administration official,  the president was briefed on the proposed operation and met on July 25 with key cabinet members and top officials, who supported the plan unanimously, before he gave the go-ahead. The president noted that no one else was hurt in the drone strike, which took place at 9:18 am local time.

Before serving as bin Laden’s deputy in al-Qaida, al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian eye doctor, fought together with bin Laden against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. He also helped found Islamic Jihad, the group that assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981.

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