WASHINGTON — The chief of al-Qaeda, one of many FBI’s most wished terrorists, was killed in a drone strike in Kabul over the weekend, President Joe Biden introduced Monday evening.
ABC Information additionally confirmed via sources conversant in the operation that al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed within the U.S. strike in Afghanistan. A senior administration official stated earlier Monday that the U.S. carried out a profitable counterterrorism operation in opposition to a “important” al-Qaeda goal, including that there have been no civilian casualties.
The counterterrorism assault occurred in Wazir Akbar Khan, one of many wealthiest neighborhoods in Kabul and actually strolling distance to the primary diplomatic areas, together with the U.S. Embassy. Al-Zawahiri was killed on the balcony of his protected home, a senior administration official stated.
Biden delivered remarks on the operation Monday evening, saying he approved the U.S. strike that killed al-Zawahiri. The president additionally delivered a transparent message to terrorism all over the world.
“Justice has been delivered and this terrorist chief isn’t any extra,” Biden stated from the White Home. “Individuals all over the world not have to worry the vicious and decided killer.”
Biden stated america is sending a transparent message with this strike: “Irrespective of how lengthy it takes, irrespective of the place you conceal, if you’re a risk to our individuals, america will discover you and take you out.”
The president stated the intelligence neighborhood situated al-Zawahiri earlier this 12 months and that he moved to downtown Kabul. Biden stated he gave the ultimate approval “to go get him” after being suggested that “the circumstances have been optimum.”
“I approved the precision strike that will take away him from the battlefield as soon as and for all,” he stated, explaining that the operation was fastidiously deliberate to reduce the danger of hurt to different civilians. Biden approved the strike on July 25.
The president the mission was a “whole success” due to the counterterrorism neighborhood, and key U.S. allies and companions.
Al-Zawahiri, who was born in Cairo in 1951, skilled as a doctor earlier than founding the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the FBI stated. His group had sought to overthrow the Egyptian authorities “via violent means” earlier than merging with al-Qaeda between 1998 and 1999, the U.N. Safety Council stated.
As Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda deputy, al-Zawahiri helped coordinate the Sept. 11, 2001, terror assaults that killed practically 3,000 individuals in america, the U.S. Justice Division stated.
Al-Zawahiri and bin Laden appeared collectively the day after the assaults in a video, during which an al-Qaeda spokesperson threatened the West, saying a “nice military is gathering in opposition to you,” U.S. officers stated.
The Justice Division named al-Zawahiri and bin Laden as unindicted co-conspirators for his or her roles in coordinating the assaults.
Each had been indicted within the Southern District of New York in 1999 for the bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224 individuals the earlier 12 months.
After bin Laden’s demise in 2011, al-Zawahiri took over as al-Qaeda’s chief, officers stated.
The FBI had positioned al-Zawahiri, who was generally often called “The Physician” or “The Trainer,” on its record of Most Wished Terrorists, providing a $25 million reward for his seize.
The strike that killed al-Zawahiri is a significant success of U.S. counterterrorism efforts and the results of numerous hours of intelligence assortment over a few years.
This mission exhibits the tenacity and absolute dedication of U.S. intelligence and army professionals towards pursuing these liable for the assaults of 9/11, stated Mick Mulroy, retired CIA paramilitary operations officer and ABC Information nationwide safety analyst.
The message for al-Qaeda and its associates ought to be that the U.S. won’t ever relent in its mission to carry these accountable who would search to hurt America and its individuals, Mulroy added.
It additionally sends a convincing message to terrorist leaders and aspiring terrorists that America’s resolve does not fade, stated Eric Oehlerich, retired Navy SEAL commander and ABC Information contributor, who additionally reiterated that those that decide to harming the U.S. or Americans will likely be held to account.
ABC Information’ Justin Ryan Gomez, Mick Mulroy, Eric Oehlerich, Martha Raddatz, Sohel Uddin and Kevin Shalvey contributed to this report.
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