On July 30, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Emir of al-Qaida and one of the most wanted terrorists in the world, was killed by a U.S. drone strike while standing on his balcony in Kabul, Afghanistan.
A long-time associate of Osama bin Laden and his second in command, Zawahiri was a key figure in planning several high-profile terror attacks.
He was bin Laden’s number-two man at the time of the September 2001 terrorist attacks, said President Joe Biden.
“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 a mastermind behind attacks against Americans, including the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, which killed 17 American sailors and wounded dozens more. He played a key role . . . in the bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224 and wounding over 4,500 others.”
After the United States conducted an operation that killed bin Laden in May 2011, Zawahiri took over as leader of al-Qaida.
“From hiding, he coordinated al-Qaida’s branches and all around the world -- including setting priorities, for providing operational guidance that called for and inspired attacks against U.S. targets. He made videos, including in recent weeks, calling for his followers to attack the United States and our allies.”
“After relentlessly seeking Zawahiri for years under Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump, our intelligence community located Zawahiri earlier this year. He had moved to downtown Kabul to reunite with members of his immediate family,” said President Biden.
And after carefully considering the clear and convincing evidence of his location, President Biden authorized a precision strike that removed Zawahiri from the battlefield once and for all.
“This mission was carefully planned and rigorously minimized the risk of harm to other civilians. And one week ago, after being advised that the conditions were optimal, I gave the final approval to go get him, and the mission was a success. None of his family members were hurt, and there were no civilian casualties.”
“Now justice has been delivered, and this terrorist leader is no more,” said President Biden. “People around the world no longer need to fear the vicious and determined killer.”
And the President stressed, “The United States continues to demonstrate our resolve and our capacity to defend the American people against those who seek to do us harm.”