President Joe Biden announced late Monday that Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda, was killed in a U.S. drone strike over the weekend, taking out one of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists. Described as a “successful counter-terrorism operation” by a senior administration official, there were no civilian casualties.
According to ABC News, sources familiar with the operation confirmed al-Zawahiri’s death.
"Justice has been delivered.”
— ABC News (@ABC) August 2, 2022
Authorized by President Biden, the killing of 9/11 terrorist Osama bin Laden’s successor puts terrorism on notice.
“Justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more,” Biden said from the White House. “People around the world no longer need to fear the vicious and determined killer.”
Al-Zawahiri was killed on the balcony of his safe house in the wealthy Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood of Kabul.
after Al-Zawahiri was located earlier in the year, Biden authorized the counterterrorism operation on July 25, after being advised that “the conditions were optimal.”
“I authorized the precision strike that would remove him from the battlefield once and for all,” the President said.
Named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the terrorist attack that killed almost 3,000 on September 11, 2001, the Justice Department says al-Zawahiri helped Osama bin Laden coordinate the attack.
Zawahiri took over leadership of al-Qaeda after bin Laden’s death in 2011.
Retired CIA paramilitary operations officer and ABC News national security analyst, Mick Mulroy, praised the strike:
“This mission shows the tenancy and absolute dedication of U.S. intelligence and military professionals toward pursuing those responsible for the attacks of 9/11.”
Eric Oehleric, retired Navy SEAL commander echoed the sentiment, saying the mission “sends a resounding message to terrorist leaders and aspiring terrorists that America’s resolve doesn’t fade.”
Though it’s been over 20 years since the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, the Biden administration’s success in locating, targeting, and killing al-Zawahiri shows the commitment to finding and holding accountable those involved.
“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,” said President Biden.
President Biden also served as Vice President during the Obama administration when Osama bin Laden – architect of the September 11 attack on our nation – was killed.
Original reporting by Luis Martinez and Ben Gittleson at ABC News.
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