Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahiri pictured in a video. AFP
In a sombre televised address, Biden said he gave the final go-ahead for the high-precision strike that successfully targeted Zawahiri in the Afghan capital over the weekend.
"Justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more," Biden said, adding that he hoped Zawahiri's death would bring "closure" to families of the 3,000 people killed in the United States on 9/11.
A senior administration official said Zawahiri was on the balcony of a house in Kabul when he was targeted with two Hellfire missiles, an hour after sunrise on July 31, and that there had been no US boots on the ground in Afghanistan.
Around 3,000 people were killed in the United States in the 9/11 attacks.
"We are not aware of him ever leaving the safe house. We identified Zawahiri on multiple occasions for sustained periods of time on the balcony of where he was ultimately struck," the official said.
According to the official's account, the president gave his green light for the strike on July 25 — as he was recovering in isolation from COVID-19. Biden said there were no civilian casualties in the operation.
It was the first known over-the-horizon strike by the United States on an Al-Qaeda target in Afghanistan since American forces withdrew from the country on August 31, 2021.
Osama Bin Laden
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday evening that "by hosting and sheltering" Zawahiri, the Taliban had "grossly violated the Doha Agreement" signed in 2020, which paved the way for America's withdrawal.
Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon who grew up in a comfortable Cairo household before turning to violent radicalism, had been on the run for 20 years since the 9/11 attacks.
He took over Al Qaeda after Osama Bin Laden was killed by US special forces in Pakistan in 2011, and had a $25 million US bounty on his head.
Over the weekend the Afghan interior ministry denied reports circulating on social media of a drone strike in Kabul, telling AFP a rocket struck "an empty house" in the capital, causing no casualties.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid speaks during a press conference. File photo
Early Tuesday in Kabul, however, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted that an "aerial attack" was carried out on a residence in the Sherpur area of the city.
"The nature of the incident was not revealed at first. The security and intelligence agencies of the Islamic Emirate investigated the incident and found in their preliminary investigations that the attack was carried out by American drones," his tweet said.
The news comes a month before the first anniversary of the final withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, leaving the country in the control of the Taliban insurgency that fought Western forces over the preceding two decades."What we know is that the senior Haqqani Taliban were aware of his presence in Kabul," the Biden official said.
The Pentagon has retreated from its defence of a drone strike that killed multiple civilians in Afghanistan last month, announcing that a review revealed that only civilians were killed in the attack, not an Daesh extremist as first believed.
A plume of smoke rose over central Kabul shortly after midnight and sirens could be heard. Inside the embassy, employees heard this message over the loudspeaker: "An explosion caused by a rocket has occurred on compound."
Hamza Bin Laden, a son of slain al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden and himself a notable figure in the militant group, was killed in a US counter-terrorism operation, the White House said on Saturday.
The region's governor Alexander Brechalov confirmed there were "casualties and wounded among children", speaking in a video statement outside school No88 in Izhevsk.
The FSB said it had arrested the Japanese consul in the act of obtaining classified information about the impact of Western sanctions on the economic situation in Russia's Far East.
The visa is issued to all nationalities for a period of 5 years, without a guarantor, and allows the beneficiary to stay in the country for a continuous period not exceeding 90 days, and it may be extended for a longer period, provided that it does not exceed 180 days per year.
Palestinian media reported that hundreds of settlers stormed Al Aqsa Square from the Mughrabi Gate, with strict protection from the Israeli forces, in the form of groups, each of which includes 50 settlers, and performed Talmudic rituals and carried out provocative tours in the mosque’s courtyards.