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After months of building a “pattern of life” for al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri at his secure home in an affluent neighborhood in Kabul, the CIA found himself often alone on his balcony in the morning.
US intelligence agencies located al-Zawahri decades after he served as Usama bin Laden’s deputy during the 9/11 attacks. He also succeeded bin Laden after the leader was killed by a Navy SEAL team in 2011.
A senior Biden government official said the government identified al-Zawahri on “several occasions over extended periods of time on the balcony where he was eventually hit” in a precision drone strike. He was the only one killed, President Biden said.
Biden said on July 25 he “approved a precision strike that would remove him from the battlefield once and for all”.
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The terrorist often went out on the balcony early in the morning and he was always alone, making it an ideal opportunity to take him out while minimizing the risk to his family, who CIA officials determined also lived in the house. .
US surveillance revealed that the al-Zawahri never seemed to leave the house where his wife, daughter and grandchildren apparently also lived.
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When Biden was briefed on al-Zawahri’s location, he told officials to do everything possible to reduce the chances of killing his family members or other civilians — or damaging the integrity of the home.
Biden announced Monday that al-Zawahri was killed in a “successful” counter-terrorism operation at 6:18 a.m. last Saturday in Kabul.
He explained that al-Zawahri has “coordinated al-Qaeda’s branches around the world” since bin Laden’s death in 2011, including “prioritising the provision of operational guidance that calls for and inspires attacks on US targets.” .
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In recent weeks, he had made videos calling for violence, including instructing followers to “attack the United States and our allies.”
Brooke Singman, Bret Baier and Peter Doocey of TBEN News contributed to this report.