August 13, 2022

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From middle-class physician to world’s most needed man: Who’s Ayman al-Zawahiri? | World Information

As the important thing drive behind the September 11, 2001 assaults on the USA, Ayman al-Zawahiri has spent a lot of the previous twenty years with a $25 million bounty on his head.

The glasses-wearing Egyptian physician was the chief of al Qaeda through the second half of that interval. However he’s maybe higher recognized for his function as Quantity 2 earlier than Osama bin Laden, the charismatic founding father of one of many world’s most infamous and barbaric terrorist organizations.

It was solely after bin Laden’s dying throughout a US particular forces raid in Pakistan in 2011 that Zawahiri took the helm of the group, though he lacked the inspirational capability of his shut pal and ally. .

Al Qaeda, beneath his stewardship, has struggled to make a lot of an influence, particularly when its surviving leaders are on the run or hiding from US and British counterterrorism forces. and different Western counterterrorism forces, whereas rival radical Islamic teams are on the rise, most notably the Islamic State or ISIS, with a wiser method to social media affiliation and appeal to extra recruiters.

Nonetheless, Zawahiri, 71, remained – till the weekend – probably the most infamous Islamist fighter to have escaped dying or seize since US President George Bush launched the so-called “battle on terror” after al Qaeda’s aircraft bloodbath in Washington and New York.

It means his dying in a CIA drone strike in Kabul shall be seen as a essential second for the hundreds of American and British spies and particular forces brokers who relentlessly hunt him down as a part of their mission to disrupt and degrade al-Qaeda. Qaeda and forestall this group from once more posing a world menace.

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“They always remember,” US President Joe Biden stated in a speech to the nation on Monday night time, confirming the information that Zawahiri had died. He additionally revealed that the terrorist chief had moved to “the town heart of Kabul” to reunite together with his household.

Ayman al-Zawahiri, proper, with a picture of Osama bin Laden showing in November 2001

‘Comfy upbringing’

Such a dangerous transfer stands in stark distinction to the years Zawahiri took each doable step to hide his place – one thing he’s largely thought-about to have achieved within the distant tribal area of Pakistan bordering Pakistan. with Afghanistan.

It would even end up {that a} extremely controversial resolution by the USA to drag its forces out of Afghanistan within the face of the rising Taliban a 12 months in the past unintentionally created the circumstances to lure Zawahiri out. out of the darkish. The Taliban has lengthy maintained a detailed relationship with al Qaeda regardless of promising to sever ties as a part of a US troop withdrawal settlement.

His dying in a covert drone strike in Afghanistan is a great distance from Zawahiri’s laid-back begin.

He was born right into a middle-class household within the Maadi suburb of Cairo on June 19, 1951. Zawahiri’s father was a professor of pharmacology.

An academically gifted scholar, younger Zawahiri selected to learn drugs at Cairo College. However he’s additionally politically lively, with more and more radical views towards the Egyptian authorities. He based the Jihad Group with some followers.

Additionally a household man, Zawahiri is married to a girl named Azza Nowair and the couple has six kids – a son and 5 daughters.

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Meet Osama bin Laden

In accordance with a profile within the Washington Put up’s Zawahiri, he started taking part in visits to refugee camps alongside the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Zawahiri used her medical coaching to take care of the injuries of Afghan mujahideen fighters who had been preventing the then Soviet-backed Afghan authorities.

It was the primary time he met the Saudi-born Osama bin Laden.

Chaos returned in Egypt after the then president of Egypt was killed in 1981 which noticed Zawahiri arrested and detained for 3 years. Throughout this time he stated he was tortured.

After his launch, he met bin Laden once more and have become his private doctor and more and more trusted ally. An FBI needed poster providing a bounty of as much as $25m (£20.4m) for info on his whereabouts says Zawahiri used a number of alias, together with The Physician and The Trainer.

It’s thought that Zawahiri, described as extra of a thinker than a warrior, spent a lot of the Nineteen Nineties touring the world, together with to the USA, Bulgaria, Denmark and Sweden. , utilizing faux passports, to search for new sources of funding.

In 1997, he settled within the metropolis of Jalalabad, southern Afghanistan. The next 12 months, his militant group merged with bin Laden’s extra profitable al Qaeda – which is “base” in Arabic.

Zawahiri is believed to have helped oversee the planning of the 9/11 assaults and different atrocities by al Qaeda. He additionally claimed to have initiated a failed try by the group to buy organic and nuclear weapons earlier than they had been compelled to proceed the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

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As bin Laden’s deputy, even whereas in hiding, Zawahiri appeared on quite a few movies uploaded to al Qaeda-friendly web sites expressing his terrorist views.

Nonetheless, after the dying of his boss, and with friction inside the ranks of al Qaeda and amongst different radical Islamist teams, Zawahiri had a decrease profile, much less seen.

But he stays an ever-higher goal for US counterterrorism forces.