Ayman al Zawahiri, leader of Al Qaeda and a major architect of the 9/11 terrorist operation, was assassinated by a US drone strike in Afghanistan on Saturday.
Earlier on Monday, US Vice President Joe Biden reaffirmed it, declaring that “Justice has been served.” After US Forces pursued Osama bin Laden in Jalalabad, Pakistan, Zawahiri, who had just turned 71, assumed control of Al-Qaeda. Zawahiri has established himself as the organization’s worldwide terrorist with a USD 25 million bounty on his head 11 years after Osama bin Laden was slain.
Zawahiri grew up to become a doctor despite being born into a middle-class family of intellectuals and physicians in Egypt. He was Rabia al-grandson, Zawahiri’s the grand imam of Al Azhar, the epicentre of Sunni Islamic study in the Middle East and one of the most significant mosques in Islam.
After meeting Laden in 1986 and joining him as his personal advisor and medic, Zawahiri went from being an eye surgeon to becoming one of the world’s most sought terrorists in just three years.
He assumed control of Islamic Jihad in Egypt in 1993 and rose to prominence in the mid-1990s movement to topple the government and establish a strict Islamic state.
He was discovered to have participated in the murder of more than 1,200 Egyptians.
Later on, Zawahiri rose to the second spot on the US government’s 2001 list of “most wanted terrorists.”
Zawahiri ultimately combined Al-Qaeda with the Egyptian Islamic Jihad in 1998.
Later, he was charged for his alleged involvement in the August 7, 1998 bombings, which left 224 people dead, including 12 Americans, and over 4,500 injured in front of the American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in Africa.
His terrorist operation came to a head on September 11, 2001, when the Pentagon and World Trade Center twin buildings were attacked, killing close to 3,000 people. After the passengers rebelled, a fourth hijacked plane, bound for Washington, crashed in a Pennsylvania field.
In late 2001, he and bin Laden both eluded US soldiers in Afghanistan.
Days after a tape allegedly including Zawahiri’s voice was made public, Zawahiri was discovered to have been engaged in suicide attacks in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which claimed the lives of 23 individuals, including nine Americans.
Following his appearance in 16 films and audiotapes in 2007, four times as many as Bin Laden, as the organisation attempted to radicalise and recruit Muslims all over the world, Zawahiri has recently become one of Al-most Qaeda’s well-known speakers.
For many years, his whereabouts remained unknown, although he was thought to be hiding around the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
US attempted to assassinate Zawahiri in a missile attack near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan in January 2006. Four members of al-Qaeda were killed in the attack, but Zawahiri was alive and two weeks later, he appeared on video to warn US President George W Bush that neither he nor “all the powers on earth” could bring his death “one-second closer.”
A year after the US forces left Afghanistan and the Taliban took control of the nation, Zawahiri was sought for death.
“No matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the US will locate you and take you out,” US President declared after declaring that justice had been served.