Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda and one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, has been killed in a U.S. drone strike in Kabul.
President Biden said in an address to the nation Monday that Zawahiri’s death — after he evaded capture for decades — sent a clear message: “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.”
How did Zawahiri rise to power?
Zawahiri was born in 1951 and raised in an affluent area of Cairo, Egypt. He is the son of a well-known doctor and the grandson of two distinguished academics.
Rabia’a al-Zawahiri, his grandfather, was an imam at Cairo’s al-Azhar University. Abdel Rahman Azzam, his great-uncle, served as the Arab League’s first secretary.
The 71-year-old was widely regarded as the mind behind the infamous terrorist organization and its plan to target the West, including the attacks on September 11, 2001, which elevated al-Qaeda from relative obscurity to a household name in the United States. It might also interest you to read Interesting Story Of Osama Bin Laden’s Son Who Left Al-Qaeda At a Young Age
He was known to Americans as Osama bin Laden’s bespectacled, bushy-bearded deputy and the second-in-command of al-Qaeda. Longtime observers claim that although bin Laden served as the terrorist organization’s public face, he really supplied the intellectual leadership.
In the 1990s, Zawahiri integrated his Egyptian terrorist organization with al-Qaeda. His role as “the mastermind behind attacks against Americans” for decades, according to Biden, included the 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen that left 17 American sailors dead and dozens more injured, as well as the bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that resulted in hundreds of deaths and scores of injuries.
In a 1998 essay, Zawahiri stated: “To murder Americans and their supporters — civilian and military — is an individual obligation for every Muslim who can do it in any nation where it is feasible to do it.”
According to an obituary published by The Washington Post on Monday, Zawahiri was primarily responsible for al-comeback Qaeda’s in the lawless tribal area of Pakistan after the organization was forcibly driven from its headquarters in Afghanistan in late 2001 and early 2002.
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