The United States says a CIA drone strike has killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, in the biggest blow to the group since its founder Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011.
An Egyptian surgeon with a $25m reward on his head, al-Zawahiri helped coordinate the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US that killed some 3,000 people.
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Here is how the world reacted to the US announcement.
In his televised address on Monday announcing the killing of al-Zawahiri, US President Joe Biden said the operation on Sunday delivered justice and hopefully a measure of closure to families of the victims of the 2001 attacks on the US.
“Now justice has been delivered, and this terrorist leader is no more. 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.”
In a post on Twitter, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said al-Zawahiri’s death made the world a safer place.
“The death of Ayman al-Zawahiri is a step toward a safer world. Canada will keep working with our global partners to counter terrorist threats, promote peace and security, and keep people here at home and around the world safe.”
The death of Ayman al-Zawahiri is a step toward a safer world. Canada will keep working with our global partners to counter terrorist threats, promote peace and security, and keep people here at home and around the world safe.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) August 2, 2022
Speaking in Parliament, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese listed the various attacks al-Zawahiri was blamed for, before sending his thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims.
“So many lives have been lost and so much blood has been spilled since, including all those Australians who served, sacrificed and gave their lives in Afghanistan,” said Albanese.
“For two decades, this man fled the consequences of his crimes. Our thoughts today are with the loved ones of all of his victims.
“May they find some small solace in the knowledge that he cannot cause more grief through his acts of terror, and let terrorists see that Afghanistan will never, ever be a safe haven for their hatred, their terrorism and their attacks on our humanity,” he added.
Saudi state media quoted the kingdom’s foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, as saying: “Al-Zawahiri is considered one of the leaders of terrorism that led the planning and execution of heinous terrorist operations in the United States and Saudi Arabia.”
The Taliban, which seized power in Afghanistan nearly a year ago, confirmed the strike in Kabul, but did not name who had been targeted. Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid strongly condemned the attack, calling it a violation of “international principles”.