It’s hard not to think of the solemn announcement on Sunday 1uh May 2011 at 11 p.m., by Barack Obama of the execution of Osama Bin Laden by US Navy SEALs in Pakistan a few hours earlier. “Justice has been done”, explained the Democratic president to his compatriots.
Eleven years later, it was his former vice-president, Joe Biden, who announced the death of Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the one who had succeeded bin Laden at the head of Al-Qaeda, killed in the middle of Kabul, on July 31, by an American drone. The president had the same words as his predecessor in 2011: “Justice has passed. This terrorist leader is no more. »
The parallel ends there: still isolated due to his rebound from Covid-19, Joe Biden made his television announcement from the balcony of the presidential residence where he is confined. A less official setting, even if the background opened on the Washington Monument.
Egyptian Ayman Al-Zawahiri, 71, nicknamed the “Professor”, often described as the theoretician of Al-Qaeda, was killed at 6:18 a.m. (local time) by two Hellfire missiles fired from a drone. No other casualties were recorded, according to the White House, while the family of the leader of Al-Qaeda ended up in the house in the Wazir Akbar Khan district, in the center of the Afghan capital.
One of the architects of 9/11
A few months, the disciple of Bin Laden had returned to Afghanistan, said a senior official of the American administration, on condition of anonymity, before the presidential announcement. Until then, US intelligence thought he was hiding on the Afghan-Pakistani border. A reward of 25 million dollars (about 24.3 million euros) had been offered by the FBI to those who helped locate him.
President Joe Biden has described him as one of the architects not only of the September 11, 2001 attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people, but also of those that preceded them: the attack on the destroyer USS Cole in 2000, against the American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya (224 dead in 1998). “Zawahiri was still with Bin Laden all this time after 9/11, he claimed. From his hiding place, he coordinated Al-Qaeda around the world. His death is a serious setback for Al-Qaeda and will deteriorate the group’s ability to operate. »
“No matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you threaten our people, we will find you and eliminate you” Joe Biden
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