The U.S. is seeing continued success in its fight against terrorist organizations. Al-Qaeda terrorist leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was killed in a U.S. drone strike on July 31, 2022. But who exactly was the terrorist leader? What was his involvement in the terrorist attack on 9/11? And who gets the $25 million bounty for his death?
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Who Was Ayman al-Zawahiri?
Ayman al-Zawahiri was born in Egypt on June 19, 1951. It’s reported that he came from a distinguished Egyptian family. According to CNN, his great uncle was the first secretary of the Arab League. His family includes some distinguished scholars, including his grandfather Rabia’a al-Zawahiri. His mother was Umayma al-Zawahiri, and his father was Rabie al-Zawahiri.
Other close relatives, like his children and any possible marriages, weren’t previously public knowledge. But their identities were discovered this year. Officials were able to discover Ayman al-Zawahiri’s location by tracking the family.
He received a master’s degree in surgery in 1978. He later used this degree when he acted as Osama Bin Laden’s personal physician. In 1981, al-Zawahiri was responsible for the assassination of Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian President at the time. He faced imprisonment for his involvement in Sadat’s death. By this point in time, the terrorist leader was determined to replace the Egyptian government with fundamentalist Islamic rule.
Ayman al-Zawahiri used to be a leader of the terrorist group Egyptian Islamic Jihad. In 1998, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad merged with al-Qaeda. He became the deputy of Osama bin Laden. Ayman al-Zawahiri worked with bin Laden to orchestrate the 9/11 terrorist attack.
But who planned 9/11?
Both bin Laden and al-Zawahiri played a role in the planning of the attack. Many believe al-Zawahiri was the operational brains behind the attack. But al-Zawahiri’s heavy involvement in the planning of the attack put him high on the wanted list, right beside Osama bin Laden.
One thing is for certain: Ayman al-Zawahiri is responsible for the lives lost on 9/11. He had continued to send out taunting messages after the attack, trying to provoke further attacks on the U.S.
Since Al-Zawahiri was the successor to bin Laden, he took over al-Qaeda after the killing of bin Laden in 2011. The terrorist leader was a vocal spokesperson for al-Qaeda. He released video and audiotapes to recruit and radicalize people across the globe.
Finding Ayman al-Zawahiri
The terrorist leader’s involvement made hunting and finding him a priority. Ayman al-Zawahiri had a bounty of $25 million on his head, and he was on the FBI’s most wanted list. Osama bin Laden was the only person listed before Ayman al-Zawahiri. Hiding in Kabul, officials were finally able to track his location after not being able to locate him for several years. But recently, they managed to recreate the layout of the safe house he resided in.
The drone strike took place, and after authorization from President Joe Biden to move forward with the attack, they were able to take down al-Zawahiri when he went out onto his balcony.
There are no reports of anyone else being injured in the attack. No family members or anyone else in the house was killed.
Ayman al-Zawahiri was able to be tracked and killed because he established a routine. He would reportedly go on the balcony of his safe house every morning after his morning prayer to watch the sunrise. Officials noted this. Because of his established routine, they were able to target and take down the terrorist leader. There is speculation on who will lead the terrorist organization next.
What About the Bounty?
The al-Qaeda leader was killed in a U.S. drone strike. The drones were unmanned. There is little to no information on who actually pulled the trigger and took out the terrorist leader. Whether that be for anonymity or protection of everyone involved in the organization of the attack, it leaves questions about who received the $25 million bounty. There have been no reports on how or if that money was disbursed to those involved in the mission.
The death of Ayman al-Zawahiri is another step forward in the U.S. fight against terrorist organizations that continue to threaten the country’s safety. His death was hopefully another act of closure for those impacted by the 9/11 terrorist attack.
Image: Visual News/Getty Images; Twitter/Bilal Sarwary