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  4. Al-Zawahiri killed using two missiles, yet no explosion. Did US use secret weapon?

Al-Zawahiri killed using two missiles, yet no explosion. Did US use secret weapon?

Al-Zawahiri killed: The missile is extremely effective, yet doesn't cause an explosion. The blades carefully slice through its target, but do not explode.

Poorva Joshi Edited By: Poorva Joshi @poorvajoshi1424 Washington Updated on: August 02, 2022 16:05 IST
al-zawahiri killed
Image Source : AP FILE - In this 1998 file photo made available on March 19, 2004, Ayman al-Zawahri poses for a photograph in Khost, Afghanistan.

Highlights

  • Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri was killed using two missles in a drone strike
  • However, despite the use of missiles, there was no sign of explosion.
  • This indicates that US yet again used its secret weapon Hellfire R9X.

Al-Zawahiri killed: Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri was killed using two missles in a drone strike conducted by United States foreign intelligence agency CIA, reported news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP). However, despite the use of missiles, there was no sign of explosion. Does it mean US yet again used its secret weapon Hellfire R9X? Macabre Hellfire R9X is a warhead-less missile that is equipped with six razor-like blades. 

The missile is extremely effective, yet doesn't cause an explosion. The blades carefully slice through its target, but do not explode. The R9X first appeared in March 2017 when Al-Qaeda senior leader Abu al-Khayr al-Masri was killed by a drone strike while travelling in a car in Syria.

Up until then, Hellfire missiles -- fired by drones in targeted attacks -- were known for powerful explosions and often extensive collateral damage and deaths. Since 2017, a handful of other finely-targeted attacks show similar results. The missile has never publicly been acknowledged by the Pentagon or CIA. 

Also called the "ninja bomb," the missile has become the US munition of choice for killing leaders of extremist groups while avoiding civilian casualties. That is apparently what happened with Zawahiri.

Al-Zawahri and the better known Osama bin Laden plotted the 9/11 attacks that brought many ordinary Americans their first knowledge of al-Qaida. Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, in operation carried out by U.S. Navy Seals after a nearly decade-long hunt.

US President Joe Biden said in an evening address from the White House that U.S. intelligence officials tracked al-Zawahri to a home in downtown Kabul where he was hiding out with his family. The president approved the operation last week and it was carried out Sunday.

The operation is a significant counterterrorism win for the Biden administration just 11 months after American troops left the country after a two-decade war.

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