President Joe Biden announced on Monday night that Ayman al-Zawahiri had been killed by a U.S. counterterrorism operation over the weekend.
“He carved a trail of murder and violence against American citizens, American service members, American diplomats, and American interests,” President Biden said in his brief remarks from the White House balcony. “Now, justice has been delivered. And this terrorist leader is no more.”
The president confirmed that al-Zawahiri was dead.
“After relentlessly seeking Zawahiri for years under Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump, our intelligence community located Zawahiri earlier this year,” Mr. Biden said. “He had moved to downtown Kabul to reunite with members of his immediate family.”
A senior administration official told reporters on Monday that the U.S. government had multiple sources that confirmed al-Zawahiri’s location at a safehouse. The strike was the result of months of patience and hard work by counterterrorism officials.
The president authorized a precision strike that would remove al-Zawahiri from the battlefield once and for all, after considering “clear and convincing evidence” of his location. He gave his final go-ahead to get him a week ago.
While on the balcony of the safehouse he was surrounded by his family in different rooms of the house, who were in different rooms of the house at 9:48 p.m.
“None of his family members were hurt and there were no civilian casualties,” the president said. The U.S. government has a high level of confidence that no one else was killed in the strike, according to the senior administration official.
The senior administration official said the president was getting regular updates regarding the al-Zawahiri situation. The president wanted to know more about the layout of the safehouse’s doors and windows to prevent other casualties after it was found. The president authorized a tailored air strike that would minimize civilian deaths, in a July 25 meeting, a senior administration official said.
All of the Sept. 11 top suspects have died with al-Zawahiri’s death. The terrorist attacks of 2001 are either dead or captured.
The FBI updated its “Most Wanted Terrorist” poster Monday with al-Zawahiri’s status: “Deceased.”
The president spoke about his visits to the small Pennsylvania mining town of Shanksville. He said that seeing the names of the people who died in New York on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 reminded people of their vow to “never forget”.
Mr. Biden hopes that al-Zawahiri will bring some kind of measure of closure to the families of the 9/11 victims.
The president did not care about the strike because U.S. troops were out of Afghanistan one year before. The argument that the US can continue to address terrorist threats without boots on the ground in Afghanistan is one that the Biden administration has been making for a long time.
“When I ended our military mission in Afghanistan almost a year ago, I made a decision that after 20 years of war, the United States no longer needed thousands of boots on the ground in Afghanistan to protect America from terrorists who seek to do us harm,” Mr. Biden said. “I made a promise to the American people that we’d continue to conduct effective counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan and beyond. We’ve done just that.”
Two intelligence sources have said that the strike happened by the CIA.
The president delivered his remarks from the balcony at the White House after he was tested positive for Covid-19 in a rebound case.
The Taliban confirmed that an airstrike was conducted in Kabul. He said that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan views it as a violation of international principles.
Michael Morell, who was the acting CIA Director and CBS News contributor, said after the president’s remarks that it was difficult to believe that al-Zawahiri had not been in contact with the Taliban.
Even though the U.S. no longer has troops in Afghanistan, the strike makes clear to any other al Qaeda members that they must still be worried about their security, even though the US has left, Morell said.
Al-Zawahiri is a wanted man. After the Sept. A list of the FBI’s 22 most wanted terrorists was released in 2001 by President George W. Bush, with al-Zawahiri at the top, along with Osama bin Laden.
Al Qaeda’s leader for a long time was known as al-Zawahiri. analysts think he was the mastermind behind bin Laden’s operation.
The death of Bin Laden was avenged by the US, but al-Zawahiri remained fugitive until his death.
Zawahiri released a video statement on Sept. It was unclear if the recording was new or old. The US offered 25 million dollars for information that could lead to his apprehension if it were true that he had died.