NewsNational News


Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri killed in airstrike

Biden Afghanistan
Posted at 5:05 PM, Aug 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-02 12:00:16-04

President Biden is speaking Monday on what the White House is describing as a successful counterterrorism operation. Three sources confirmed to CBS News that top al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a U.S. counterterrorism strike in Afghanistan over the weekend.

A senior administration official said there were no civilian casualties.

The president's remarks are slated to begin at 7:30 p.m. ET. Mr. Biden, who is experiencing a rebound case of COVID-19, will be delivering his remarks at a separated distance from the press at the White House.

The strike comes nearly one year after U.S. troops withdrew from Afghanistan.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on Monday confirmed an airstrike conducted by a drone in Kabul. He said the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan views that as a clear violation of international principles.

The Taliban said the strike took place in a residential neighborhood in Kabul.

Al-Zawahiri has long been a wanted man. After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, then-President George W. Bush released a list of the FBI's 22 most wanted terrorists, with al-Zawahiri near the top of the list along with Osama bin Laden.

For years, al-Zawahiri was known as al Qaeda's No. 2, but many analysts believe he was really the brains behind bin Laden's operation.

Bin Laden was killed by U.S. special forces in 2011, but al-Zawahiri eluded attempts on his life and an international manhunt until his death. With al-Zawahiri's death, all of top plotters of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are either dead or captured.

The last time Zawahiri was last seen on video on Sept. 11, 2021, but it was unclear if the recording was new or old. It was rumored for years that he had died, and the U.S. was offering $25 million for information that could lead to his apprehension.