WorldJoe Biden announced the death of al-Qaeda leader Ayman...

Joe Biden announced the death of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri: “Justice has been served and this terrorist is no more”

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U.S. President Joe Biden announced live on television Monday the death of Al-Qaeda leader, Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was killed in a drone strike Saturday night in Afghanistan, a new blow to the terrorist organization, AFP reported.
“On Saturday, under my orders, the United States coordinated an airstrike in Kabul, Afghanistan, that killed the emir of al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahiri,” he said in a speech from the White House.
“Justice has been served, and this terrorist is no more,” Joe Biden added.

Zawahiri was one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, and the United States pledged $25 million for any information that might lead to his capture. He had taken over leadership of the jihadist group in 2011 after the death of Osama Bin Laden, who was killed by an American commando in Pakistan.

He was untraceable for more than a decade and was believed to be the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in the United States.

His death will allow the families of the victims killed Sept. 11, 2001, in the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon near Washington to “turn over a new leaf,” the Democratic president said.

The drone strike was carried out with two Hellfire missiles and without any U.S. military presence on the ground, a U.S. official said. This is a testament to the United States’ ability to “identify and locate even the most wanted terrorists in the world and take action to eliminate them,” he said.

Ayman al-Zawahiri had been seen “repeatedly and for extended periods of time on the balcony where he was eventually hit in the attack in the Afghan capital,” he added.

Over the weekend, the Afghan interior minister denied reports of a drone strike in Kabul, telling AFP that a missile had hit “an empty house” in the capital.

In a statement released on Twitter Monday ahead of Joe Biden’s intervention, the Taliban spokesman acknowledged the existence of an “airstrike” attributed to an “American drone.”

The presence of Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul was also a “clear violation” of agreements reached in Doha in 2020 with the Taliban, which had pledged not to harbor al-Qaeda on its territory, the senior U.S. official said.

“More than 20 years after 9/11, the United States has finally captured Ayman al-Zawahiri, the close associate and successor to Obama bin Laden,” commented Thomas Joscelyn, an expert at the think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies, on Twitter Monday.

Ayman al-Zawahiri, 71, inherited a weakened organization in 2011 and had to survive by multiplying his “franchise” and loyalties, from the Arabian Peninsula to the Maghreb, from Somalia to Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.

“Despite Zawahiri’s leadership (…) the group still faces major challenges. First of all, there is the question of who will lead Al-Qaeda after Zawahiri’s disappearance,” estimates Colin Clarke, a researcher at the U.S. think tank Soufan Group.

Al-Qaeda has already lost its No. 2, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, who was killed on the streets of Tehran in August 2020 by Israeli agents during a secret Washington-sponsored mission, which was revealed several months later by The New York Times.

Monday’s announcement comes nearly a year after the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, which allowed the Taliban to regain control of the country two decades later.
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