Friday, August 19, 2022

Al-Qaeda chief killed in US drone strike

Ayman al-Zawahari, who assumed the leadership of al-Qaeda after the death of Osama bin Laden, has been killed in a “precision strike” carried out by the CIA in the Afghan capital of Kabul, President Joe Biden has said, declaring that “justice has been delivered and this terrorist is no more”.
Zawahiri, 71, remained a visible international symbol of the group, 11 years after the US killed bin Laden in Pakistan.
“I authorised a precision strike that would remove him from the battlefield, once and for all,” Biden said on Monday in a speech from the White House.
According to officials, Zawahiri was on the balcony of a safe house when the drone fired two missiles at him. Other family members were present, but they were unharmed and only Zawahiri was killed.
“He was deeply involved in the planning of 9/11, one of the most responsible for the attacks that murdered 2,977 people on American soil. For decades, he was the mastermind of attacks against Americans, said Biden.
The US president was kept abreast of the strike against Zawahiri as he was isolated with a rebound case of Covid-19. Biden spoke outdoors on Monday from the Blue Room Balcony at the White House.
“Now, justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more. People around the world no longer need to fear the vicious and determined killer,” Biden said.
“The United States continues to demonstrate our resolve and our capacity to defend the American people against those who seek to do us harm. 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,” he was quoted as saying by CNN.
Biden said the precision strike targeting was the result of the “extraordinary persistence and skill” of the nation’s intelligence community.
“Our intelligence community located Zawahiri earlier this year – he moved to downtown Kabul to reunite with members of his immediate family,” Biden said.
His killing will bring closure to families of the victims of the 2001 attacks, Biden said, adding that Zawahiri had also masterminded other acts of violence, including the suicide bombing of the USS Cole naval destroyer in Aden in October 2000 which killed 17 US sailors.
The strike comes one year after Biden ordered the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, prompting Taliban forces to rapidly seize control of the war-torn nation. Zawahiri comes from a distinguished Egyptian family, according to the New York Times.


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