Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is said to have been killed over the weekend in a US drone strike in Afghanistan, multiple media reported citing people familiar with the matter. US President Joe Biden said he would make an announcement on Monday evening from the White House, even as he’s quarantining with Covid-19.
“Over the weekend, the United States conducted a counterterrorism operation against a significant Al Qaeda target in Afghanistan. The operation was successful and there were no civilian casualties,” a senior administration official told reporters in a background briefing.
While Zawahiri’s name was not officially mentioned, AP reported it shortly thereafter, followed by Reuters and the Washington Post.
According to US officials, the CIA carried out a drone strike in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Sunday. The Taliban government confirmed that the strike took place, with spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid condemning it as a violation of “international principles,” according to Reuters.
The Egyptian-born Zawahiri, 72, was considered to be Osama Bin Laden’s deputy and listed among the top 22 Most Wanted Terrorists by the FBI since October 2001, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He became the leader of Al-Qaeda following the US announcement that Bin Laden was killed in May 2011. The State Department had offered a bounty of up to $25 million for information on Zawahiri’s whereabouts.
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