Who is Ayman al-Zawahiri? Al-Qaeda leader killed in Afghanistan

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Ayman al-Zawahiri, the terrorist who was killed in a US drone strike in Afghanistan on Monday, was a senior deputy to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden before taking over the organization’s leadership after the death of his predecessor in 2011.

Fox News previously reported that a drone strike on a house in Kabul drove it out over the weekend.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed and condemned the attack on Twitter, describing it as a “clear violation of international principles,” according to a translation of the thread. However, the 2020 Doha Agreement, which preceded the heavily criticized Biden administration’s withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan last year, called on the Taliban to fight terrorism inside the country.

Al-Zawahiri was also a doctor and founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad movement, which later merged with al-Qaeda, according to the authorities.

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Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri speaks on the eleventh anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death
(AP Photo/ Mazhar Ali Khan, file)

Al-Zawahiri, 71, was listed as one of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists, and there was a $25 million bounty for his capture.

He succeeded bin Laden as leader of al-Qaeda in 2011 after he was killed by a team of US Navy SEALs in Pakistan.

The Egyptian-born terrorist helped plan the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and was wanted in connection with the 1998 US embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya as well as the 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, according to the State Department.

He had openly urged terrorists to attack the United States and Western allies and kidnap citizens.

The two embassy bombings killed 224 people, including 12 Americans, and injured more than 4,500 other victims. The attack on the USS Cole killed 17 American sailors.

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FILE - As seen on a computer screen from a DVD prepared by As-Sahab, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri speaks in Islamabad, Pakistan, on June 20, 2006.

FILE – As seen on a computer screen from a DVD prepared by As-Sahab, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri speaks in Islamabad, Pakistan, on June 20, 2006.
(AP Photo/BKBangash, file)

Other conspirators were killed in the attacks, including bin Laden and Muhammad Atef.

Seven other suspects in the embassy bombings are serving life sentences.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in his youth, al-Zawahiri was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo. He attended medical school and became an eye surgeon before joining bin Laden in the mid-1980s. They became close during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

According to documents seized at the bin Laden compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, Al-Zawahiri graduated from Cairo University’s Qasr Al-Ain Medical School in 1974. Anwar Sadat was accused of carrying a weapon without a license.

More recently, he denounced the Islamic State for its brutality in Iraq and Syria.

Another wanted al-Qaeda leader linked to the two embassy bombings, Saif al-Adel, is still on the FBI’s most wanted list.

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Al-Zawahiri is also the father-in-law of Abd al-Rahman al-Maghribi, another prominent al-Qaeda leader.

Matthew Cena, Ron Blitzer, and Holly MacKay of Fox News contributed to this report.

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