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Ayman al Zawahiri: How were the last minutes of the leader of Al Qaeda, the terrorist who died on the balcony while his family was inside the house in Kabul, Afghanistan | United States | CIA | WORLD

He was the world’s most wanted terrorist after the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011. His public appearances since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were always through videos recorded in unidentified places. He was believed to be taking refuge in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan, in the impenetrable tribal areas of those countries. But Ayman al-Zawahirithe leader of Al Qaedawas assassinated on Sunday by the United States in the least expected place: the balcony of the house where he was hiding in a wealthy area of ​​Kabul.

The departure of troops from USA of Afghanistan last year was key to consuming revenge against the man for whom Washington offered a reward of 25 million dollars.

READ ALSO: How the CIA located and killed Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri with a “secret” drone

According to The Washington Post, US intelligence located Ayman al-Zawahiri a few months ago in a safe house located in the neighborhood of shirpur, in Kabul. Members of the powerful Haqqani Taliban faction, who guard the area, knew that the Al Qaeda leader had come to live there.

For several years, the United States intelligence community tracked a network of people who supported Al-Zawahiriwho took over Al Qaeda after the death of bin Laden at the hands of the Navy Seal in Pakistan. The Egyptian terrorist was the driving force behind the creation of Al Qaeda affiliates in various countries in Asia and Africa.

After US forces hastily abandoned Afghanistan in August 2021, Ayman al-Zawahiri he apparently saw an opportunity to reunite with his family, according to the Washington Post.

The US newspaper noted that earlier this year, US intelligence personnel identified members of the family of Al-Zawahiri who lived in the house in Kabul. It is not clear if Al Zawahiri joined them or if he was already there. But from them, the officials began to focus on an older man who lived in the house to confirm his identity. He had been seen several times on the balcony.

By early July, intelligence personnel were almost certain they had identified Ayman al-Zawahiri Y planned a way to kill only him.

The Washington Post reports that the 1st of July this year, President Joe Biden convened a meeting in the White House Situation Room with key advisers and cabinet members to go over the intelligence and plan to kill Al-Zawahiri. The director of the CIA, William J Burns, sat to the right of the president. On the table between them was a small wooden box, with metal latches on the sides and a handle on top, containing a tiny-scale model of the safe house of the most wanted terrorist for decades.

This photo released on August 2, 2022 by the White House shows President Joe Biden meeting with his Homeland Security team to discuss the operation to eliminate Ayman al-Zawahiri, on July 1, 2022. (AFP)
This photo released on August 2, 2022 by the White House shows President Joe Biden meeting with his Homeland Security team to discuss the operation to eliminate Ayman al-Zawahiri, on July 1, 2022. (AFP)

Biden asked how the officials were sure they had positively identified Ayman al-Zawahiri and they presented their evidence to him.

“He sought explanations about lighting, weather, construction materials and other factors that could influence the success of this operation and reduce the risk of civilian casualties”said a senior administration official. Biden also called for an analysis of the consequences, in the region and beyond, of launching a missile attack on the center of Kabul.

On July 25, Biden convened a final briefing. That day, the president pressed for details about the damage the attack could cause to the safe house. He wanted to better understand the layout of the rooms behind the third-floor door and windows, where the balcony was located, according to the Post.

Biden he asked for the opinion of each adviser who participated in the briefing. Should he approve the hit? They all said yes, narrates the Washington Post.

Finally, on Sunday July 31 Ayman al-Zawahiri went out to the balcony. It was 6:18 in the morning, a drone from the INC that was in the air fired two Hellfire missiles and killed him.

Unlike what happened with Osama Bin Laden, the United States did not take the body of the terrorist.

The house where Ayman al Zawahiri was killed.  (Twitter).
The house where Ayman al Zawahiri was killed. (Twitter).

But why the attack on terrorist Didn’t it also affect your family and didn’t it destroy the three-storey house, as happened in similar operations in the past? This is due to the weapon used to kill Ayman al-Zawahiri.

A US official said he believed a was used hell fire of small ammunition with the explosive force of a hand grenade. The photos of the safe house, with the windows blown out, do not show the kind of burn marks normally associated with a major explosion.

Many analysts believe that a little-known version of the Hellfire missilewithout explosive warhead.

It is a variant called the AGM-114R9X that has six blades that unfold on the surface of the missile as it approaches the target.

The six-blade missile with which the United States killed Ayman al-Zawahiri.  (BBC).
The six-blade missile with which the United States killed Ayman al-Zawahiri. (BBC).

The kinetic energy caused by the speed of this weapon is what causes the destruction, since it shatters everything it reaches and minimizes collateral damage, according to BBC Mundo.

Intelligence analysts examined various intelligence streams, likely including aerial surveillance, and determined that he was killed in action only Al-Zawahiri. His family remained safe inside the house and no civilians were injured outside.

Osama bin Laden (right) and his successor Ayman al-Zawahiri (left) in May 1998.
Osama bin Laden (right) and his successor Ayman al-Zawahiri (left) in May 1998.

Bin Laden’s partner

Ayman al-Zawahiri was born in Cairo in 1951 and was a doctor by profession.

He came from a wealthy family. Very religious since childhood, he became involved with a violent sector of the Sunni branch of Islam that seeks to replace the governments of Egypt and other Arab nations to implement a strict interpretation of the Koran.

already adult, Al-Zawahri He worked as an eye surgeon and at the same time began to travel through Central Asia and the Middle East, where he witnessed the war of the Afghans against the Soviet invaders. He met the young Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden and other Arab extremists who were organizing to help Afghanistan to expel the Soviets.

According to the AP agency, Al-Zawahiri was one of hundreds of extremists captured and tortured in an Egyptian jail after the assassination of President Anwar Sadat at the hands of islamic fundamentalists in 1981. His biographers say that experience made him even more radical. Seven years later, Al-Zawahri was present when Osama bin Laden founded Al Qaeda.

Ayman al-Zawahri merged his own Egyptian extremist group with Al Qaeda. He brought to this network his organizational skills and experience – honed underground in Egypt, evading Egyptian intelligence – that enabled the group of bin Laden create cells of followers in various countries and carry out terrorist attacks.

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