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The Killing of Zawahiri: Twenty Years Too Late – Analysis

 

Seth J. Frantzman

Jerusalem Post, Aug. 2, 2022

The US finally found and killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda. He was found on Sunday in the Afghan capital of Kabul, where he was killed in a counter-terrorism operation carried out by the CIA, the BBC reported.

“Since the United States delivered justice to [Osama] bin Laden 11 years ago, Zawahiri has been a leader of al-Qaeda,” US President Joe Biden said. “From hiding, he coordinated al-Qaeda’s branches and all around the world, including setting priorities for providing operational guidance and calling for and inspired attacks against US targets.”

How was Zawahiri killed?

Some have postulated that Zawahiri was killed with a Hellfire RX-9, a missile that uses blades instead of a warhead to literally mince up an adversary upon impact. The reason because there doesn’t seem to have been an explosion when the al-Qaeda leader was killed. Unlike the raid to kill Bin Laden in 2011, there was no firefight before Zawahiri was killed. Apparently, no family members were killed in the operation either.

Zawahiri was killed by two missiles as he stood on his balcony, according to reports. It took months of planning, supposedly. He was living a life of privilege in his “safe house,” which was located in a nice part of Kabul. His wife and grandchildren lived in the same house, which according to the Daily Mail, was “owned by a top aide to Sirajuddin Haqqani, the interior minister for the Taliban, who is close to senior al-Qaeda officials and is wanted by the FBI for questioning.”

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