Kabul: American officials and media announced this Saturday morning that Ayman al-Zawahiri, the senior leader of the Al-Qaeda terrorist group, was killed in an American airstrike in Afghanistan, but who he was and how did he become the leader of the world’s largest terrorist network?
Ayman Mohammad Rabi Mustafa Abdul Karim Al Zawahiri was born on June 19, 1951. He was the number two person of Al-Qaeda organization, who became the leader of this group after the death of Osama bin Laden.
Al-Zawahri’s hometown is Al-Maadi near Cairo, the capital city of Egypt. He lived in the village of Kafr al-Sheikh al-Zawahri in the city of Hayya in the province of Al-Sharqiya and his father Muhammad Rabi al-Zawahri was a professor of pharmacy at the Faculty of Medicine at Ain Shams University, who died in 1995. He came from a middle-class family, among them there were many doctors and scholars. According to the New York Times, Rabi al-Zawahri, Ayman al-Zawahri’s grandfather, was the imam of the Al-Azhar Society in Cairo, and his uncle, Abdurrahman Azzam, was the first secretary of the Arab League.
His brother is Muhammad Rabih al-Zawahiri nicknamed Abu Ayman al-Masri and is one of the leaders of al-Qaeda. His younger brother, Hossein al-Zawahiri, is a planning engineer and his sister Heba al-Zawahiri, who is a professor of oncology at the National Cancer Institute in Cairo University. His maternal grandfather, Abdul Wahab Azzam, is a writer and professor of literature at Al-Sharqiya University, the head of the Faculty of Arts at Cairo University and was a member of the Arabic Language Academy in Cairo.
Al-Zawahiri worked as a general surgeon after graduating from the medical school of Ain Shams University, and according to some media sources, he was a participant in the establishment of the Al-Jihad group in Egypt, and some experts believe that he was one of the main elements of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.
Al-Zawahiri’s name is in the list of 22 of the most important people that the United States announced after 2001 and set a $25 million reward for anyone who provides information that leads to him. According to some media reports, he was arrested at the age of 15. He was also arrested in 1981 on the charge of having an illegal weapons store in Egypt and was sentenced to three years in prison and was released from prison in 1985. He formed a group there and also worked as a doctor. According to some media reports, al-Zawahiri took over the leadership of al-Jihad group in 1993 and was the main person behind the attacks in the country, including the failed assassination of the prime minister at the time. His arrest in 1981 was because he was on the list of those accused of assassinating the then president of Egypt, Anwar Sadat.
He has 10 books through which he laid the foundations of the violent approach and the theory of terrorism. Al-Zawahiri also stayed in Bulgaria, Denmark and Switzerland for a period after Russia left Afghanistan.
His forces joined forces with Osama bin Laden and he became bin Laden’s doctor and advisor in 1986. There are also reports that show that he made a trip to California in 1993 to collect money for Afghan children who were injured in the war with the Soviet Union. According to reports, al-Zawahiri ordered attacks such as the bombing of the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan in 1995, and played a prominent role in a coordinated series of bombings against American embassies in East Africa in 1998.
The August 7, 1998 bombings in the American embassies in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Nairobi (Kenya), the attack on the USS Cole warship, the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were among these attacks.
According to the announcement of the Business Insider website; The documents of the Federal Intelligence Service of the United States (FBI) and the United Kingdom show that a person named Omar Al Bayoumi, a collaborator and supporter of the attackers, received money from the Saudi Intelligence and Security Organization, and before this attack, he met with 2 of the hijackers as well as Anwar al-Ukili, a Saudi scholar related to al-Qaeda. It was after the explosions in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam that America put his name as the second person on its wanted list.
Al-Zawahiri, who was 67 years old at the time, assumed leadership of the group after the United States announced that a US Marine special unit had killed al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad in 2011.
He had many nicknames such as Abu Muhammad, al-Tabib, al-Mu’allem, Abdul Qadir Abdul Aziz Abdul Moez, Doctor, Abu Fatima, Abdul Moez, Noor and Master. Some reports said that the first wife and two of the six children of al-Zawahiri were killed in the American airstrike in They were killed in Afghanistan at the end of 2001.
In early 2016, the United States launched a drone attack on al-Zawahiri’s place in the Shawwal Plain in North Waziristan province of Pakistan, but he was able to run away.
Rumors of al-Zawahiri’s death persisted until last year, on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, when he gave an hour-long appearance via a video file released by al-Qaeda on the Internet.
Eventually, US President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday morning that al-Zawahiri was killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan.