President Joe Biden on Monday said that the United States killed Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri in a “precise” operation in Afghanistan capital Kabul, dealing the militant group its worst blow since the death of its founder Osama bin Laden in 2011.
Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon with a $25 million bounty on his head, assisted in planning the attacks of the September 11, 2001 (9/11 Attacks), which resulted in the death of nearly 3,000 US citizens.
Quoting US officials, who did not want to be named, a Reuters report said Zawahiri was killed when he came out on the balcony of his safe house in Kabul on Sunday morning and was hit by “hellfire” missiles from a US drone.
In remarks from the White House, Biden stated, “Now justice has been delivered, and this terrorist commander is no more.”
He added: “The United States will find you and take you out no matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide.”
Here’s everything about the man who succeeded Osama Bin Laden In Al-Qaeda.
First Global Appearance As A Terrorist
Zawahiri’s involvement with Islamist extremism dates a long way back.
He became known to the world for the first time when he was imprisoned in a courtroom cage following the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat in 1981.
Zawahiri was sentenced to three years in prison for illegally possessing weapons but was cleared of the more serious accusations.
The Pakistan Connection
Zawahiri travelled to Pakistan after his release and joined the Red Crescent to assist Islamist mujahideen fighters injured while battling Soviet forces in Afghanistan. He met bin Laden, a wealthy Saudi who had joined the Afghan resistance, during that time.
Zawahiri, who assumed control of Islamic Jihad in Egypt in 1993, played a key role in the movement to topple the government and establish a strict Islamic state in the middle of the 1990s. There were 1,200 or more Egyptian deaths.
After President Hosni Mubarak was the target of an assassination attempt in Addis Abeba in June 1995, Egyptian authorities launched a campaign against Islamic Jihad. As a response, the balding, white-turbaned Zawahiri gave the order to attack the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad in 1995. Sixteen people were killed when two automobiles carrying explosives crashed through the gates of the facility.
In 1999, Zawahiri was sentenced to death in absentia by an Egyptian military court. After assisting bin Laden in creating Al-Qaeda, he was by that point leading the austere life of a warrior.
Taking Over Al-Qaeda
Zawahiri was thought to be hiding for many years along the dangerous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
US officials discovered this year that Zawahiri’s family—his wife, his daughter, and her children—had moved to a safe house in Kabul and later located Zawahiri there, according to Reuters.
After bin Laden was assassinated by American Navy Seals in his Pakistani lair in 2011, Zawahiri became the leader of Al-Qaeda. Since then, he has made numerous calls for world jihad while holding an Ak-47 in his video messages to the world.
The Era Of Constant Terror Breakouts
Zawahiri pledged to continue strikes against the West in a tribute to bin Laden
In the end, Western counter-terrorism agencies paid just as much attention to the rise of the even more virulent Islamic State in 2014–2019 in Iraq and Syria.
Zawahiri frequently attempted to incite Muslim rage by making online comments about touchy subjects like American Middle East policy or Israeli treatment of Palestinians, but his style was perceived as lacking bin Laden’s charisma.
Zawahiri is thought to have organised the 2001 attacks when planes hijacked by Al-Qaeda were used to kill 3,000 people in the United States and is thought to have been involved in some of Al-Qaeda’s largest operations.
He was indicted for his alleged role in the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The FBI put a $25 million bounty on his head on its most wanted list.
Roots Of Zawahiri: Hailed From A Prominent Family
Zawahiri did not belong to the slums of Cairo like other people who were enticed to terrorist organisations by their claims of a just cause. Zawahiri was a famous Cairo family member and the grandson of the grand imam of Al Azhar, one of Islam’s most significant mosques.
Zawahiri was raised in the tranquil Maadi neighbourhood of Cairo, which is popular with foreigners from the Western countries he decried. Zawahiri, a pharmacology professor’s son, first embraced Islamic fanaticism when he was 15 years old.
Doctor To Terrorist
The revolutionary beliefs of Sayyid Qutb, an Egyptian writer who was executed in 1966 on allegations of attempting to topple the government, served as inspiration for him.
Zawahiri is remembered by those who studied with him at Cairo University’s Faculty of Medicine in the 1970s as a vivacious young man who enjoyed going to the movies, listening to music, and cracking jokes with friends.
A doctor who studied under Zawahiri and wished to remain anonymous claimed, “When he came out of prison, he was a completely different person,” reported Reuters.
After Sadat was killed during a military parade, Zawahiri spoke to the press in the courtroom cage. He said that militants had been subjected to terrible torture, including beatings and attacks by wild dogs while imprisoned.
He claimed that the purpose of the detention of the wives, mothers, fathers, sisters, and sons was to exert psychological pressure on the innocent captives.
According to his fellow inmates, these circumstances led Zawahiri to become even more radicalised and set him on the path to a worldwide jihad.