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‘No matter where you hide’: US kills al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in drone strike

Taking to Twitter, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid confirmed the airstrike carried out on a residential house in the Sherpur area of Kabul on 31 July.

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Washington: The head of al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was killed Saturday in an airstrike by the United States, US President Joe Biden confirmed Monday.

“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.

Taking to Twitter, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid also confirmed the strike and said, “An airstrike was carried out on a residential house in Sherpur area of Kabul city on July 31.”

He said, “The nature of the incident was not apparent at first” but the security and intelligence services of the Islamic Emirate investigated the incident and “initial findings determined that the strike was carried out by an American drone.”

Mujahid said the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan “strongly condemns this attack on any pretext and calls it a clear violation of international principles and the Doha Agreement.”

Zawahiri, who just turned 71 years old, had remained a visible international symbol of the group, 11 years after the US killed Osama bin Laden. At one point, he acted as bin Laden’s personal physician, CNN reported.

He succeeded Laden as the chief of the group after Laden was hunted down by US SEAL forces in Jalalabad in Pakistan.

In 1998, he was indicted for his alleged role on August 7, 1998, bombings of the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya.

On August 7, 1998, nearly simultaneous bombs blew up in front of the American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in Africa – 224 people died in the blasts, including 12 Americans, and more than 4,500 people were wounded.

The culmination of Zawahiri’s terror plotting came on September 11, 2001, when nearly 3,000 people were killed in the attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center and Pentagon. A fourth hijacked airliner, headed for Washington, crashed in a Pennsylvania field after passengers fought back.

Both he and bin Laden escaped US forces in Afghanistan in late 2001.

In May 2003, for instance, almost simultaneous suicide bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, killed 23 people, including nine Americans, days after a tape thought to contain Zawahiri’s voice was released, CNN reported.

The whereabouts of Zawahiri had long been a mystery. Rumours have spread since late 2020 that al-Zawahiri had died from an illness. A recent report from the UN Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team confirmed that Zawahiri was living in Afghanistan and communicating freely.

It said that the proof that Al-Zawahiri was alive comes from the video messages issued by the group. The report also warned against the growing strength of terrorist groups including al Qaeda and the Islamic State pose a great threat to the world.
The US State Department had offered a reward of up to $25 million for information leading directly to Zawahiri’s capture. (ANI)

Also read: Al-Zawahiri invoking culture war in South Asia. Al-Qaeda sees opportunity in Hijab row


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