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US air strike takes out notorious Al-Qaeda leader

Ayman al-Zawahiri

President Joe Biden has confirmed the death of Osama Bin Laden’s former right-hand man.

President Joe Biden has confirmed the death of Osama Bin Laden’s former right-hand man.

In an address to the American public, US President Joe Biden announced the death of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the head of terrorist group Al-Qaeda, following a US drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday (30 July).

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President Biden authorised the drone strike last week following a brief from the intelligence community.

US intelligence had identified al-Zawahiri’s location earlier this year and has since been tracking the terrorist’s movements in Kabul.

Al-Zawahiri was reportedly visiting downtown Kabul to reunite with his family.

According to President Biden, the mission was a success, with no family members or civilians wounded or killed.

The former Al-Qaeda chief had served as Osama Bin-Laden’s second in command, assuming leadership of the terrorist group following Bin Laden’s death in May 2011.

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Al-Zawahiri was involved in the planning of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, which resulted in the deaths of 2,977 people.  

He also helped orchestrate the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000 and played a role in the bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. 

“He carved a trail of murder and violence against American citizens, American service members, American diplomats, and American interests,” President Biden said.

“…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. 

“The United States continues to demonstrate our resolve and our capacity to defend the American people against those who seek to do us harm.”

President Biden stressed the United States would continue to authorise counter-terrorism operations around the world in defence of its national security.  

“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,” President Biden added.

The targeting of al-Zawahiri is the latest of a number of operations against terrorist actors around the world, including the killing of ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi in February.

[Related: Pentagon appoints AUKUS adviser]

Charbel Kadib

Charbel Kadib

News Editor – Defence and Security, Momentum Media

Prior to joining the defence and aerospace team in 2020, Charbel was news editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business, where he covered developments in the banking and financial services sector for three years. Charbel has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations, graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a double major in politics and journalism. Charbel has also completed internships with The Australian Department of Communications and the Arts and public relations agency Fifty Acres.

US air strike takes out notorious Al-Qaeda leader
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