Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has been killed in a CIA drone strike in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, United States President Joe Biden has said.
Al-Zawahiri was killed on Sunday in the biggest blow to the group since its founder Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011.
“Justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more,” Biden said in a special televised address from outside the White House.
Intelligence had located al-Zawahiri’s family in Kabul earlier this year, Biden said, adding that no members of the family or civilians had been killed in the attack.
An Egyptian surgeon with a $25m reward on his head, al-Zawahiri helped coordinate the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US that killed nearly 3,000 people.
Earlier, US officials speaking on the condition of anonymity told reporters that the CIA carried out a drone attack in Kabul using two missiles. Al-Zawahiri was on his balcony at the time, they said.
“It’s a significant blow,” Colin Clarke, research director at the Soufan Group, a global security firm, told Al Jazeera, adding that his presence in Kabul was also interesting in what it suggested about his relationship with the Taliban.