US President Joe Biden in a live address on Tuesday morning, Afghanistan time, announced the death of Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
In his speech, Biden said that Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in an American drone strike in Kabul.
“On Saturday at my direction, the United States successfully concluded an airstrike in Kabul, Afghanistan, that killed the emir of al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahiri. You know, Zawahiri was bin Laden's leader. He was with him all that whole time. He was his number two man, his deputy at the time of terrorist attack 9/11. He was deeply involved in the planning of 9/11. One of the most responsible for the attacks and murdered 2,977 people on American soil,” Biden said.
According to Biden, Ayman Ay al-Zawahiri was involved in organizing terrorist attacks on American citizens in various parts of the world.
“For decades, he was the 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 the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224 and wounding over 4,500 others. He carved a trail of murder and violence against American citizens, American service members, American diplomats and American interests. And since the United States delivered justice to bin Laden 11 years ago,” he added.
Biden said that he authorised the precision strike after months of planning and that no civilians or family members were killed.
Reuters quoted a US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, saying Zawahiri was killed when he came out on the balcony of his safe house in Kabul at 6:18 a.m. on Sunday morning and was hit by Hellfire missiles from a US drone.
Earlier on Sunday, Abdul Nafi Takoor, a spokesperson for the interior ministry said a house was hit by a rocket in Sherpoor, a neighborhood in the center of the city.
"A rocket hit a house in the Sherpoor area of Kabul this morning at around 6:00am in PD10 of Kabul. The house was empty, thus the rocket did not result in any casualties," he said.
Islamic Emirate spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid in a statement confirmed that a strike took place and strongly condemned it, calling it a violation of "international principles."
“On August 1, 2022, an air strike was carried out on a residential house in the Sherpoor area of Kabul city. At the outset, the nature of the incident was not revealed. The security and intelligence agencies of the Islamic Emirate investigated the incident and found in their preliminary investigations that the attack was carried out by American drones. IEA strongly condemns this attack on any cause and calls it a clear violation of international principles and the Doha Agreement,” the statement of Islamic Emirate reads.
So far journalists have not been allowed to take pictures of the house attributed to the leader of the Al-Qaeda network that was the target of the attack.
The Islamic Emirate and the Al-Qaeda network have not yet confirmed or denied that Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed.
Since US troops and diplomats departed the country, the drone attack marks the first known US strike inside Afghanistan. When American troops left Afghanistan about a year ago, an airstrike was conducted on a home in Kabul's PD15 that was thought to be a Daesh hideout, but it was later discovered that the victims of that incident were civilians.