Ayman Al-Zawahiri


August 19, 2022

Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri (Arabic: أيمن محمد ربيع الظواهري, ʾAyman Muḥammad Rabīʿ aẓ-Ẓawāhirī; June 19, 1951 – July 31, 2022) was an Egyptian pediatrician and terrorist. He was, between 2011 and 2022, the de facto leader of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda. With bin Laden's death in 2011, he became the most wanted man in the world. He had previously been bin Laden's private physician. In 1998, he merged Egyptian Islamic Jihad formally with al-Qaeda. According to reports from a former al-Qaeda member, he had worked for the al-Qaeda organization since its inception and was a senior member of the group's shura council. He has often been described as a "lieutenant" to the head of al-Qaeda. On June 16, 2011, in a statement broadcast by various websites in the Arab world on the Internet, the organization informed that the doctor and former right-hand man of bin-Laden, became the new leader of the terrorist organization, as a way of "honoring bin-Laden's legacy". During his tenure as al-Qaeda's leader, he remained largely in the shadows, exerting a tacit and indirect influence on the already decentralized and weakened group. He was eventually killed in a US airstrike in 2022.


Ayman al-Zawahiri was born into a prominent middle-class family in Maadi, a suburb of Cairo, and apparently had a studious youth, where he devoted his childhood to music. His father, Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri, was a pharmacist and professor who came from a large family of scholars, while his mother, Umayma Azzam, came from a wealthy clan. Being a bit of a bookworm, he excelled at school, loved poetry and had a great affection for his mother. He grew up more religious than his relatively secular family, and at the age of fourteen, he had joined a group of Islamists called the Muslim Brotherhood (al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin), and had become a student and follower of Sayyid Qutb. Al-Zawahiri studied behavior, psychology and pharmacology at Cairo University, where he graduated in 1974 and later graduated with a Master of Surgery in 1978. By 1979, he had moved on to the much more radical Islamic Jihad, where he became a of your main organizers and recruiter. He was one of hundreds of people who were arrested after the murder of Anwar Sadat. However, the Egyptian government was unable to prove any connection between Al-Zawahiri and the murder, so he was released after serving some time in prison for illegally possessing weapons. In the 1980s, he traveled to Afghanistan to participate in the mujahideen resistance against the Soviet Union's occupation. There he met Osama Bin Laden, who was running a base for mujahideen called Maktab al-Khadamat (MAK) both of whom worked under the tutelage of Palestinian Abdullah Yusuf Azzam. In 1990, al-Zawahiri returned to Egypt where he continued to instigate Islamic Jihad in more radical directions that employed the knowledge and tactics he had learned in Afghanistan. In 1997, he was found responsible for the killing of 62 foreign tourists in the Egyptian village of Luxor, so he was sentenced to death by an Egyptian military court. In 1998, he issued together with Osama bin Laden a joint fatwa entitled "World Islamic Front against Jews and Crusaders", which was an important step in expanding their conflicts on a world scale. In December 2001, he published the book Knights Under the Prophet's Banner which outlines al-Qaeda's ideology. English translations of this book have been published, but it is currently difficult to locate due to security reasons. After the US invasion of Afghanistan, al-Zawahiri's whereabouts were unknown. It seems likely that he stayed with bin Laden in Afghanistan's border region with Pakistan. On December 3, 2001, air strikes were launched against a complex of