Ayman al-Zawahri killed: How US planned ‘precision’ drone strike to eliminate Al-Qaeda chief – key points

Ayman al-Zawahiri

Ayman al-Zawahiri

Photo : PTI

New Delhi: In a major breakthrough, Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri, one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, was killed in a US drone strike in Afghanistan capital Kabul this weekend.

Zawahri, who helped Osama bin Laden hatch the conspiracy to carry out the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US that killed nearly 3,000 people, took over Al-Qaeda after Laden was killed by US special forces in Pakistan in 2011.

The Al-Qaeda chief had a 25 million dollar US bounty on his head.

Here are key points on the big story:

  • US President Joe Biden confirmed that Ayman al-Zawahri was killed in the drone strike, declaring “justice has been delivered.” “This terrorist leader is no more,” Biden said in a speech from the White House on Monday evening.
  • The US President approved the operation last week and it was carried out on Sunday. According to a senior administration official, Biden gave go-ahead for the strike on July 25 — as he was recovering in isolation from COVID-19. “After carefully considering clear and convincing evidence of his location, I authorised a precision strike that would remove him from the battlefield once and for all,” Biden said.
  • The dreaded terrorist was hiding out with his family at a home in downtown Kabul. There were no civilian casualties in the operation, the US President said. “None of his family members were hurt and there were no civilian casualties.”
  • Zawahiri was targeted with two Hellfire missiles, a warhead-less missile believed equipped with six razor-like blades that slices through its target but does not explode. He was on the balcony of the house when the missiles hit him, an hour after sunrise on July 31.
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has added ‘deceased’ under the profile picture of Ayman al-Zawahiri on its website, after the Al-Qaeda chief was killed by the US in a drone strike in Kabul.