Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri killed by U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan

The US has killed Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, one of the world’s most-wanted terrorists and a key architect of the September 11 attacks, in a drone strike in Afghanistan.

Joe Biden confirmed in an address to the American people on Monday night that he authorised the precise attack to “take out Al-Zawahiri once and for all”.

“Justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more,” the US president said from the White House.

Al-Zawahiri, 71, was regarded as the successor to Osama bin Laden as the leader of Al Qaeda. His death marks the biggest blow to the terrorist group since bin Laden was killed in 2011.

The terrorist leader was killed by two Hellfire missiles while he was on the balcony of his safehouse in central Kabul, where he had been living with his family. No one else was killed in the strike, the US said.

An unmanned US drone carried out the strike at 9.48pm eastern time on Saturday July 30 (6.18am Kabul time on July 31) at Mr Biden’s direction, a senior national security official said in a Monday night briefing.

A loud explosion echoed through Kabul early on Sunday morning.