US claims to have killed al-Qaeda terror group leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri in strike in Afghanistan

“Justice has been served, and this terrorist leader is no more.” US President Joe Biden announced on Monday August 1 that the leader of the terrorist group Al-Qaeda, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, had been killed in an airstrike in Kabul (Afghanistan). His death will allow the families of victims of September 11″ to turn the page, he added during a televised address. Ayman Al-Zawahiri is indeed considered the mastermind of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in the United States.

Ayman al-Zawahiri had been spotted “repeatedly and for long periods of time on the balcony where he was finally hit” by the strike in the Afghan capital, added a senior American official quoted by AFP. The operation, which took place over the weekend, did not “no civilian casualties”said Joe Biden during his speech. “No matter how long it takes, no matter where you are hiding, if you pose a threat to our people, the United States will find you and eliminate you”hammered the American president.

Born in 1951 into a bourgeois family, near Cairo (Egypt), Ayman Al-Zawahiri, easily recognizable by his bump on the forehead and his large glasses, joined the Muslim Brotherhood at the age of 15. . Implicated in the 1981 assassination of Egyptian President Anouar Al-Sadat, he was imprisoned for three years before joining Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in the mid-1980s, where he treated jihadists fighting the Soviets and met Osama Bin Laden.

Long at the head of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (JIE), he only joined Al-Qaeda at the end of the 1990s. Ayman Al-Zawhiri was, since then, one of the main personalities of the jihadist nebula. In 1998, he became Osama bin Laden’s deputy, but also his doctor, before logically taking over in 2011, when the latter was killed by an American commando in Pakistan. Ayman Al-Zawahiri had notably theorized the swarming of jihadist franchises according to allegiances of circumstances, from the Arabian Peninsula to the Maghreb, from Somalia to Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.

Ayman Al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden in a video broadcast by Al-Jazeera on April 15, 2002. (AL-JAZEERA)

The State Department offered up to $25 million (in English) reward for any information leading to the arrest or conviction of the leader of Al-Qaeda, who has not been found for more than ten years. At the end of 2020, sources had once given credit to rumors that he died of heart disease, but he then reappeared in a video. In June 2021, a United Nations committee estimated in a report (in English) that he was “somewhere in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan”.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahif said on Twitter that a “air strike” was carried out by an American drone on a house in the Sherpour district of Kabul (Afghanistan). “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan strongly condemns this attack”he added, calling the strike a “flagrant violation of the principles of the international Doha agreement”signed at the end of February 2020 between the United States and the Taliban.

“There were no American personnel on the ground in Kabul”said a senior American official quoted by AFP, adding that the very presence of Ayman Al-Zawahiri in the Afghan capital was a “clear violation” Doha agreements.

This announcement by Joe Biden comes almost a year after the chaotic withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan, which had allowed the Taliban to regain control of the country, twenty years later. The Al-Qaeda group had already lost its number 2, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, killed in August 2020 in the streets of Tehran (Iran) by Israeli agents during a secret mission sponsored by Washington, information revealed at the time speak New York Times(in English).

In mid-July, the United States announced that it had killed the leader of the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria, Maher Al-Agal, during a drone strike. This operation, according to a US Army spokesman, had “significantly weakened the ability of IS to prepare, finance and conduct its operations in the region”.

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