Ayman Al-Zawahiri


August 13, 2022

Ayman al-Zawahiri (Arabic: ايمن الظواهري) (June 19, 1951 – July 31, 2022) was the ideologue of the terrorist network Al Qaeda and since May 2011 the successor of Osama bin Laden. Washington holds him partly responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States and put a $25 million reward on his head. Al-Zawahiri made a trip to Peshawar in 1980 and worked in Afghanistan during the Soviet-Afghan War as a doctor for the Red Crescent. He was a leader of the Egyptian terrorist group Egyptian Islamic Jihad and was among those arrested after the assassination attempt on President Anwar Sadat in 1981. He was further wanted for his alleged part in the attacks on the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. The United States placed a price on his head of $25 million. Egypt blames Al-Zawahiri for the 1997 attack on western tourists in Luxor that left 68 dead. In 1998 it became known that Al-Zawahiri, in addition to a Swiss, also had a Dutch passport under the name Sami Mahmoud El Hifnawi, with number combination 513116. On January 13, 2006, the CIA launched a missile attack on the village of Damadola in western Pakistan. This attack was aimed at Al-Zawahiri. There were 18 casualties, but Al-Zawahiri was not among them. Pakistan has officially protested the attack against the United States. Although al-Zawahiri did not have the charisma of bin Laden and preferred to operate behind the scenes, his influence within the terror organization was considerable. After bin Laden's death on May 2, 2011, he was confirmed as his successor within Al Qaeda on June 16, 2011. On August 1, 2022, it was announced by Joe Biden that Al-Zawahiri was killed in a missile strike with an AGM-114R9X. It was later revealed that the attack in Kabul on Sunday morning, July 31, 2022, happened at 6:18 a.m. local time and that no one else was killed.

Video messages

Al-Zawahiri has recorded several video messages, mostly broadcast by Al Jazeera. September 9, 2004, Al-Zawahiri appeared with a video message showing that he is still a fugitive. He stated that he would carry out more attacks. On August 4, 2005, he appeared with a video message in which he attributed the July 7, 2005 bombings in London to Prime Minister Tony Blair's foreign policy. September 1, 2005, Al Jazeera showed a video message from Mohammed Sidique Khan, one of the suspected perpetrators of the London attacks. This statement was followed by a message from Al-Zawahiri, who said the attacks were a slap in the face to Prime Minister Blair and shift the fight to the enemy's country. January 30, 2006, he responded in a video to the January 13 missile attack on Damadola. He condemned President George W. Bush for this attack. On July 27, 2006, he vowed revenge for the victims of the "July War" in Lebanon and Gaza in a video message. He threateningly stated that Al Qaeda now saw the world "as a battlefield open to us" and that every participant of the "crusader coalition", especially Israel and the western countries, would have to pay the price for this crime. On September 29, 2006, he spoke out about the controversy caused by a speech by Pope Benedict XVI in Regensburg. He called the Pope a charlatan, but did not call for action. On December 20, 2006, he spoke out against early elections for the Palestinian Authority. January 5, 2007 he expressed his support for the Islamic Courts Union in Somalia. January 22, 2007, he criticized George W. Bush's decision to send more troops to Iraq.