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Al-Qaida Releases Video Narrated By Leader Ayman al-Zawahiri Who Is Believed To Have Been Killed In US Raid

  • 35 minute recording is undated while transcript did not give a time of creation
  • Zawahiri is said to have been killed in a US strike in Afghanistan earlier in 2022
  • Had previously been in hiding for years before a ‘careful’ process of locating him
  • He was the mastermind behind multiple attacks killing thousands of Americans

The terror group Al-Qaida has released a video which they claim is narrated by leader Ayman al-Zawahiri – believed to have been killed in a US raid earlier this year.

The recording was undated while the transcript did not clearly point towards a time frame for when the footage could have been created. 

Zawahiri is thought to have been killed aged 71 in a US strike in Afghanistan during the biggest blow to the militant group since its founder Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011. 

Al-Qaida has released a video which they claim is narrated by leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, pictured,  who is believed to have been killed in a US raid earlier this year

Al-Qaida has released a video which they claim is narrated by leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, pictured,  who is believed to have been killed in a US raid earlier this year

Zawahiri was previously hiding for years, and the process of locating and killing him was the result of ‘careful, patient and persistent’ work by the counterterrorism and intelligence community, a senior U.S. administration official stated. 

In July this year president Joe Biden announced a CIA drone strike killed Zawahiri who had been the mastermind behind multiple attacks over the last two decades, leaving thousands of Americans dead.    

In his speech, Biden repeatedly invoked the September 11th terrorist attacks, which Zawahiri helped plan, and said the slaying of the world’s top terrorist target demonstrated the resolve of the US to go after terrorist leaders, no matter where they hide and how long it takes.

Al-Zawahiri, 71, was killed by two Hellfire 'Ninja' missiles - fitted with extending blades - fired from CIA drones as he stood on the balcony of his house

Al-Zawahiri, 71, was killed by two Hellfire ‘Ninja’ missiles – fitted with extending blades – fired from CIA drones as he stood on the balcony of his house

‘Now, justice has been delivered, and this terrorist leader is no more,’ said Biden. ‘We made it clear again tonight that no matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out.’

At the time of his supposed death – when Hellfire ‘Ninja’ missiles fitted with extended blades fired from CIA drones as he stood on the balcony of his house – Zawahiri’s wife, daughter and grandchildren were living with him but remained unharmed. 

From 9/11 to death on his balcony: How US tracked and killed Zawahiri 

Sept. 11, 2001 – Attack on twin towers of the World Trade Center. Al-Zawahiri is Osama bin Laden’s top deputy and widely credited with masterminding the attack

May 2, 2011 – Successful US operation to take out bin Laden at compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan 

2011 – Al-Zawahiri succeeds bin Laden following the successful U.S. operation to take out world’s top terror leader. US intelligence over several months gains ‘increased confidence’ terror leader’s family has relocated to a safe house

Early April – Top security staffers are informed of ‘developing intelligence’. Shortly thereafter, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan briefs President Biden 

US officials develop ‘pattern of life’ for Al-Zawahiri. Al-Zawahiri arrives at the safe house location; US not aware of him ever leaving after he arrived 

Al-Zawahiri continues to crank out videos attacking the US and allies.

The US then investigates ‘construction and nature of the safe house’ and building integrity so the strike could kill the terror leader without endangering civilians.

Officials undertake operation to determine the identity of all the people in the safe house. Officials ‘systematically eliminated all reasonable options’ other than a strike.

Officials hold a series of ‘close-hold’ briefing to vet intelligence. ‘Key’ agencies are brought into the process to make sure information is ‘rock solid’ and develop alternatives and minimize risks to civilians 

During the last few weeks of this period, Biden convenes several meetings with advisors and cabinet members to scrutinize intelligence

May and June – Biden receives updates

July 1 – Biden is briefed on a proposed operation in the White House Situation Room by key members of his cabinet. Attending are CIA Director William Burns, counterterrorism experts, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, and National Counterterrorism Center Director Christine Abizaid, national security adviser Jake Sullivan, Principal Deputy National Security Adviser Finer

Biden examines a model that was constructed of the safe house inside the Situation Room. Biden requests further information on building plans and likely effects of a strike. Directs intel community to prepare impact analyses. Asks intel to consider risks to Mark Randall Frerichs, an American who disappeared in Afghanistan in 2020, impact on future access to Afghan air space, and on efforts to evacuate Afghan partners

June and July – Principals and deputies convene in Situation Room multiple times to ‘test the intelligence picture’. ‘Tight circle’ of agency lawyers confirms legal basis. They conclude al-Zawahiri is a lawful target.

Biden asks all present for their view. ‘All strongly recommended approval of this target’ 

July 25 – Biden convenes advisors and key cabinet for final meeting on updated intel. Asks again about other options, the layout of rooms, and impacts. At the end of the meeting, Biden ‘authorized a precise tailored airstrikes on the condition that have strike minimize, to the greatest extent possible the risk of civilian casualties.’ 

 July 30, 9:48 pm EDT – US undertakes ‘precision counterterrorism operation in Kabul’ to take out al-Zawahiri 

Daily Mail (UK)

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