- Zawahiri joined hands with the jihadist group in 1980
- He was the mastermind behind 9/11 and many other attacks in the West
- Zawahiri wrote in his manifesto that he would kill all Americans and their allies
A U.S. drone strike in Kabul has claimed the life of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the commander of al-Qaeda and one of the most wanted terrorists in the world.
Zawahiri was the known brain behind al-Qaeda and its mission to target countries in the West, orchestrating the unwelcome rise of the notorious terrorist organization from being an unknown face to a household name in the United States, The Washington Post reported.
"People around the world no longer need to fear the vicious and determined killer,” President Biden said in an address, “The United States continues to demonstrate our resolve and our capacity to defend the American people against those who seek to do us harm,” CNN reported.
Who was Ayman al-Zawahiri?
Zawahiri was born in 1951 and raised in an affluent area of Cairo, Egypt. He was the son of a well-known doctor and the grandson of two distinguished academics. His first involvement in terrorism was when he endorsed the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981.
He was known to Americans as second to Osama bin Laden. The bespectacled, bearded subordinate and the second-in-command of al-Qaeda was a young doctor in the slums of Cairo before he served as the terrorist organization's public face, The Guardian reported.
Zawahiri's journey into becoming the man behind the idealogy of al-Qaeda began when a man with an alluring proposition to treat Islamic rebels resisting Soviet forces in Afghanistan visited his clinic.
As a result of the offer he accepted in 1980, Zawahiri rose to the leadership of al-Qaeda, the most dreaded terrorist organization in the world after bin Laden's death in 2011.
In the 1990s, Zawahiri integrated his own militant organization with al-Qaeda.
“To kill Americans and their allies — civilian and military — is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in every country in which it is possible to do it,” Zawahiri wrote in a 1998 manifesto, New York Post reported.
Zawahiri made multiple video and audiotape appearances before and after the 9/11 tragedy, calling for attacks against Western targets and pleading with Muslims to embrace his cause.
After the organization was compelled to leave its stronghold in Afghanistan in early 2002, Zawahiri was largely responsible for the group's revival in the largely ungoverned region of Pakistan.
The suicide bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which resulted in more than 200 deaths and left over 5,000 injured, were among the devastating attacks he orchestrated. Suicide bombers attacked USS Cole in Yemen, in October 2000, leaving 17 American sailors dead and 39 more injured.
Zawahiri's final known speech was an audio message distributed on July 13 by al-Qaeda's media wing.