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

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Ayman Al Zawahiri, the terrorist killed in an American drone strike in Afghanistan on Mondaywas a top aide to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden before taking over as head of the organization following the death of his predecessor in 2011.

A drone strike where a Kabul man took him over the weekend, Fox News reported earlier.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed and condemned the attack on Twitter, calling it a “clear violation of international principles”, according to a translation of the thread. However, the 2020 Doha deal, which preceded the Biden administration’s much-criticized withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan last year, called on the Taliban to fight terrorism in the country.

Al Zawahiri was also a doctor and founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad terrorist groupwhich later merged with al-Qaeda, authorities say.

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Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahri speaks on the 11th anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahri speaks on the 11th 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 reward for his capture.

I took over from Bin Laden as leader of Al-Qaeda in 2011 after a team of Navy SEALs killed him in Pakistan.

The Egyptian-born terrorist helped plot the September bombing. On December 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and was wanted in connection with the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya as well as the 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, according to the Department of ‘State.

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

The 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 Al-Sahab production, al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahri speaks in Islamabad, Pakistan June 20, 2006.

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

Other conspirators in the attacks, including Bin Laden and Muhammad Atef, have already been killed.

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

In his youth, al Zawahiri was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, according to the State Department. He went to medical school and became an eye surgeon before teaming up with bin Laden in the mid-1980s. They became close during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

According to documents seized from bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, al Zawahiri graduated from al Qasr al Ain medical school at Cairo University in 1974. Ideologically, he opposed secular governments and he was arrested in 1981 after the assassination of former Egyptian President Mohammad. Anwar Al-Sadat accused of carrying a weapon without a license.

More recently he denounced the Islamic State group for his brutality in Iraq and Syria.

Another al-Qaeda leader wanted in connection with the embassy bombings, Saif al Adel, remains on the FBI’s most wanted list.

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Al Zawahiri is also the father-in-law of Abd al Rahman al Maghrebi, another senior Al-Qaeda figure.

Fox News’ Matteo Cina, Ronn Blitzer and Hollie McKay contributed to this report.