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Al-Qaeda leader killed by US in Afghanistan, sources say

US President Joe Biden speaks to the traveling press after attending a working session with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on July 15, 2022.

Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will announce on Monday that a CIA counterterrorism strike in Afghanistan has killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, two sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.

The strike “was successful and there were no civilian casualties,” a senior Biden administration official said earlier, without confirming the identity of the target. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

Biden is expected to speak from the White House at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Sunday’s drone attack is the CIA’s first known counterterrorism operation since Kabul fell to the Taliban last year.

Al-Zawahiri was considered a doctor and founder of Egyptian Islamic Jihad before rising to the top of the al-Qaeda network. He had previously been indicted by the US government for his alleged role in the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya.

The State Department previously offered a reward of up to $25 million for information leading to his arrest.

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