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Top al-Qaeda leader killed by U.S. in Afghanistan, sources say

US President Joe Biden speaks to the travelling press after taking part in a working session with Saudi Arabias Crown Prince at the Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah, on July 15, 2022.

Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will announce Monday that a CIA counterterrorism strike in Afghanistan 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 the condition of anonymity.

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

Al-Zawahiri, a physician and founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad before ascending to the top spot in the al-Qaeda network, was one of the main architects behind the devastating Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

He was previously indicted by the U.S. government for his alleged role in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya.

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

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

Al-Qaeda, the group that planned and carried out the devastating terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon,

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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