Al-Qaeda leader killed in U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan

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Media reports say U.S. President Joe Biden announced Monday night that the leader of al-Qaeda, one of the FBI's most wanted terrorists, was killed in a drone strike in Kabul over the weekend,.

ABC News says it confirmed through sources familiar with the operation that al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in the U.S. strike in Afghanistan. A senior administration official reportedly said earlier Monday that the U.S. conducted a successful counterterrorism operation against a "significant" al-Qaeda target, adding that there were no civilian casualties.

According to ABC News, the counterterrorism attack took place in Wazir Akbar Khan, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Kabul and literally walking distance to the main diplomatic areas, including the U.S. Embassy. Al-Zawahiri was reportedly killed on the balcony of his safe house, a senior administration official was cited as saying.

U.S. President Biden hailed the operation as a significant win in the fight against terror groups overseas.

“You know, al-Zawahiri was bin Laden’s leader. He was with him all the — the whole time. He was his number-two man, his deputy at the time of the terrorist attack of 9/11. He was deeply involved in the planning of 9/11, one of the most responsible for the attacks that murdered 2,977 people on American soil.

“For decades, he was a mastermind behind attacks against Americans, including the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, which killed 17 American sailors and wounded dozens more.

“He played a key role — a key role in the bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224 and wounding over 4,500 others,” President Biden said, speaking from the White House, where he is isolating with COVID-19.

“Now justice has been delivered, and this terrorist leader is no more. People around the world no longer need to fear the vicious and determined killer. The United States continues to demonstrate our resolve and our capacity to defend the American people against those who seek to do us harm,” he said. “You know, we — we make it clear again tonight that 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.”

"The United States continues to demonstrate our resolve and our capacity to defend the American people against those who seek to do us harm," he said. "We make it clear again tonight that 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."

Source: Asia-Plus