August 02, 2022
The US killed al-Qaeda’s top leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a drone strike in Afghanistan over the weekend dealing the terrorist group a major blow. Al-Zawahiri had overseen the September 11 attacks on the US in 2001 that killed 2,977 people along with Osama bin Laden, who was killed by the US in 2011 in Pakistan.
According to the official reports, Al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian by birth who had trained to be a medical doctor, had a US reward of $25 million for information leading to his capture. The US holds him responsible also for the bombing of its embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and on its naval ship USS Cole in 2000. He also had a long history of baiting and threatening India. Last April, he praised an Indian student who stood up against efforts to prevent Muslim women from wearing hijab. The next month, in May, he called the abrogation of Article 370 a “slam” for Muslims.
Al-Zawahiri was killed by two Hellfire missiles fired at him from a CIA-run drone while he was on the balcony of a house in Kabul where he had been staying with his family. No members of his family or other civilians were wounded or killed in the strike.
In an address to the nation, President Joe Biden said that US intelligence had tracked the Qaeda leader to Afghanistan early in the year and he gave the go-ahead to the operation to kill al-Zawahiri a week ago on July 25. Officials said Biden reviewed a model of the house early in July to make sure there were no collateral casualties.
He said “Our intelligence community located Zawahiri earlier this year. He had moved to downtown Kabul to reunite with members of his immediate family. After carefully considering clear and convincing evidence of his location, I authorised a precision strike that would remove him from the battlefield once and for all.”
Biden added: “This mission was carefully planned, rigorously minimising the risk of harm to other civilians. And one week ago, after being advised the conditions were optimal, I gave the final approval to go get him and the mission was a success.”
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