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Is Ayman al-Zawahiri still alive? Al Qaeda releases 35-minute 'undated' video

The US had claimed that its forces killed al-Zawahiri in a drone strike in Afghanistan earlier in July this year. Even US President Joe Biden released a video wherein he praised the efforts of the forces involved in the al-Zawahiri killing operation.

Ajeet Kumar Written By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 New Delhi Updated on: December 25, 2022 13:46 IST
Ayman al-Zawahri, left, listens during a news conference
Image Source : AP/FILE Ayman al-Zawahri, left, listens during a news conference with Osama bin Laden in Khost, Afghanistan in 1998.

Is Ayman al-Zawahiri still alive? Nearly six months after the top Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed by the United States, the terrorist group, on Friday, released a video wherein he could be seen, Reuters reported. The US had claimed that its forces killed al-Zawahiri in a drone strike in Afghanistan earlier in July this year. Even US President Joe Biden released a video wherein he praised the efforts of the forces involved in the killing operation. 

In a major development, the news agency, citing the SITE intelligence group, said that the 35-minute video released by the terror organisation did not have any dates or timing that proves the exact date of the recording. Moreover, the report claimed that the transcript also did not clearly point towards a time frame for when it could have been made.

Biden claimed his forces killed the terrorist leader in July

It is worth mentioning al-Zawahiri was the main conspirator of the 9/11 attack that killed thousands of innocent people in America. 

Several American intelligence agencies including the FBI claimed that al-Zawahiri had been living in Pakistan after his predecessor Osama Bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad. On several occasions, the media reported his presence in Pakistan. However, after the Taliban seized Afghanistan in August 2021, he moved to Kabul to lead the terror organisation.

Earlier in July this year, the US claimed its forces killed Zawahiri from Afghanistan. Although the US Forces did not react to the latest development, experts familiar with the operation have termed the video as "outdated".

Who was al-Zawahri?

An Egyptian, al-Zawahri was born June 19, 1951, to a comfortable family in a leafy, drowsy Cairo suburb. Religiously observant from boyhood, he immersed himself in a violent branch of a Sunni Islamic revival that sought to replace the governments of Egypt and other Arab nations with a harsh interpretation of Islamic rule.

Al-Zawahri worked as an eye surgeon as a young adult, but also roamed Central Asia and the Middle East, witnessing Afghans’ war against Soviet occupiers in that country, and meeting young Saudi Osama bin Laden and other Arab militants rallying to help Afghanistan expel Soviet troops.

He was one of the hundreds of militants captured and tortured in an Egyptian prison after Islamic fundamentalists’ assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981. Biographers say the experience further radicalized him. Seven years later, al-Zawahri was present when bin Laden founded al-Qaida. 

Al-Zawahri merged his own Egyptian militant group with al-Qaida. He brought al-Qaida organizational skill and experience — honed underground in Egypt, evading Egyptian intelligence — that allowed al-Qaida to organize cells of followers and strike around the world.

(With inputs from AP)

Also Read: Pakistan hostage crisis: Security forces reject demand of Talibani militants and secure CTD compound in Bannu

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