Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a successful US drone strike in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. This is the biggest blow to the terrorist group since the killing of Osama bin Laden, the founder of the militant group in 2011. US President Joe Biden said in a televised address on Tuesday morning (India time) that “justice has been served” and that he hoped Zawahiri’s death would bring peace to the families of the 3,000 people killed in the US on 9/11. The slain al-Qaeda leader was the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks and one of the world’s ‘most wanted’ terrorists.
Zawahiri has been leading al-Qaeda since succeeding bin Laden in 2011. Zawahiri’s assassination has left the terrorist group facing a dire succession crisis. According to several media reports, al-Adel was the group’s key strategist after bin Laden’s death. According to the Middle East Institute, Saif al-Adel is likely to be the next leader of the party. According to US intelligence agencies, the Egyptian former army officer was a founding member of Al Qaeda, having joined the terrorist group Maktab al-Khidmat in the 1980s.
It was during this time that he met bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri and joined their group, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ). Saif al-Adel also fought against Russian forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Saif al-Adel was Osama bin Laden’s chief security executive and has been on the FBI’s ‘Most Wanted’ list since 2001. A $10 million reward will now be offered for information about Saif Al-Adel. The intelligence agency’s page about al-Adel says he is wanted on charges of “conspiracy to kill United States citizens, murder, destruction of United States buildings and property, and conspiracy to destroy the national defenses of the United States.”
According to an old ABC News report, US forces have been looking for Saif al-Adel since 1993. Al-Adel was 30 when the infamous ‘Black Hawk Down’ incident killed 18 Americans.