Who was Ayman al Zawahiri, head of al Qaeda?

FILE – This frame grab from online video reveals al-Qaida’s chief Ayman al-Zawahri in a videotape issued Saturday, Sept. 2, 2006. The chief of al-Qaida has termed for attacks on Saudi Arabia after the kingdom’s mass execution of 47 people in January, a lot of of whom were being tied to the terror team. Al-Zawahiri’s opinions arrived in a seven-moment audio recording launched previously this 7 days and documented by a U.S.-centered terror check, the Web site Intelligence Team, on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. (militant picture via AP video, File) Anonymous/AP

Who was Ayman al Zawahiri, head of al Qaeda?

Ryan King

August 01, 07:09 PM August 01, 07:09 PM

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Over a 10 years back, when Navy SEALs raided Osama bin Laden’s compound and killed the mastermind driving the 9/11 attacks, Ayman al Zawahiri assumed the reigns of the al Qaeda terrorist network.

Al Zawahiri, who has very long been shrouded in mystery and beforehand had served as al Qaeda’s No. 2, was reported to have been killed in a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan. President Joe Biden is predicted to supply remarks on the “profitable counterterrorism procedure” at 7:30 p.m. EST.


Lots of overseas policy gurus remained perplexed as to how al Zawahiri managed to stay away from getting captured or killed by the United States or allied forces for so extended. Some had theorized that al Zawahiri was currently lifeless or in bad health and fitness. Others suspected that he was hiding in Pakistan like bin Laden, making it tough to achieve him. Authorities experienced placed a $25 million bounty on his head.

Past yr, just after Taliban forces toppled the U.S.-backed governing administration in Afghanistan, movie surfaced that appeared to clearly show the al Qaeda chief alive and commemorating the carnage his terrorist team inflicted on 9/11, when roughly 3,000 people have been killed. The timing of the video clip arrived weeks right after the Taliban returned to electrical power.

Speculation began to brew that the Taliban takeover could make Afghanistan extra appropriate for al Zawahiri and al Qaeda. Twenty yrs prior, the Taliban had been accused of harboring al Qaeda, which served as portion of the justification for the U.S. invasion adhering to 9/11.

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Al Zawahiri was born in Egypt in 1951 to a very well-off loved ones. He joined the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamist, as a teenager and commenced plotting to overthrow Egypt’s authorities in favor of setting up a Muslim theocracy, in accordance to the Washington Put up. In the course of his youthful machinations, he cultivated a band of followers that sooner or later became regarded as the Jamaat al Jihad.

In 1981, he was arrested after the assassination of President Anwar Sadat and claimed to have been tortured in prison, in accordance to the e book Ayman al-Zawahiri as I Knew Him. The arrest was designed because of to his ties to al Jihad. Inevitably, he was unveiled mainly because authorities lacked evidence that he was element of the conspiracy to get rid of Sadat, for each a put up from the Brookings Establishment.

Next his release, al Zawahiri is thought to have engaged in a number of terrorist strategies across the environment, which includes in Pakistan, Sudan, and Afghanistan. For the duration of the 1980s, he manufactured numerous journeys to Afghanistan, the place he would eventually collaborate with bin Laden, according to the Department of Protection. The two collaborated on initiatives to subvert the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.

By the 1990s, al Zawahiri’s al Jihad merged with al Qaeda, which was more substantial in dimension and experienced a lot more fiscal sources. In 1998, al Zawahiri was indicted for the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings that killed hundreds in various East African metropolitan areas. Individuals attacks propelled al Zawahiri into the worldwide highlight along with bin Laden.

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A few several years later, the two ended up credited with masterminding the 9/11 assaults. In a letter to the U.S., bin Laden outlined various motivations for the attack, like U.S. help of Israel, the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, sanctions on Iraq, and additional.

If al Zawahiri has without a doubt been killed, the U.S. and allied forces have succeeded in killing or capturing virtually all of the substantial-profile al Qaeda users who operated in the time bordering 9/11.

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