The U.S. killed Egyptian al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a drone strike over the weekend in Afghanistan, according to U.S. media reports, which the White House declared a success in a “counterterrorism operation against a key target.” .
Ayman al-Zawahiri was one of the most wanted terrorists in the world, and the United States had promised $25 million for any information leading to his whereabouts. He took over the head of the jihadist Nebula in 2011 after the death of Osama bin Laden, who was killed by a US commando in Pakistan.
President Joe Biden is scheduled to address television at 7:30 pm (2330 GMT). A short time ago, several major American media outlets, including CNN, Fox, the Washington Post and the New York Times, said that the target of the US attack was Ayman al-Zawahiri and that he was dead.
Undiscovered for more than ten years, Zawahiri is believed to be the mastermind of the September 11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in the United States.
Al-Qaeda has already lost its No. 2, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, who was killed by Israeli agents during a Washington-sponsored covert operation on the streets of Tehran in August 2020, the New York Times revealed at the time.
“No civilian casualties”
With an organization that had lost its luster in 2011, Ayman al-Zawahiri, 71, had to survive to amplify the loyalty of “rights” and situations from the Arabian Peninsula to the Maghreb, from Somalia to Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.
At the end of 2020, sources once gave credit to rumors that he died of heart disease, but he reappeared in a video.
On Monday, a senior U.S. administration official said the U.S. conducted a “counterterrorism operation against a major al-Qaeda target” in Afghanistan over the weekend, without referring to Ayman al-Zawahiri.
“The operation was successful and there were no casualties to civilians,” the source told reporters.
According to US media, Ayman al-Zawahiri may have been killed in a CIA-led drone strike in the Afghan capital, Kabul.
According to a Taliban statement obtained by the Washington Post, the US strike hit a residential home in an affluent area of Kabul.
The announcement comes almost a year after the chaotic withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, which allowed the Taliban to regain control of the country after two decades.
On February 3, Joe Biden announced the death of Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hachimi al-Qurachi during an operation in northern Syria.
In a televised address, the Democratic leader warned leaders of jihadi organizations: “We are on your heels”.