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Top al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri killed in US drone strike, Biden announces in national address

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Photo by CNN via Getty Images

President Joe Biden announced on Monday that Ayman al-Zawahiri, the top al Qaeda terror leader, was killed in a U.S. drone strike over the weekend.

Al-Zawahiri was killed in the home of a Taliban official in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.

“He will never again, never again, allow Afghanistan to become a terrorist safe haven because he is gone and we’re going to make sure that nothing else happens," said Biden in his speech.

“This terrorist leader is no more,” he added.

A senior administration official offered a statement about the incident to reporters ahead of the president's address.

"Over the weekend, the United States conducted a counterterrorism operation against a significant Al Qaeda target in Afghanistan. The operation was successful and there were no civilian casualties," the official said.

One report said that the drone strike was carried out by the CIA and not the U.S. military. Biden did not confirm the report but he thanked the U.S. intelligence community for their part in the successful operation.

Al-Zawahiri became one of the most hunted terror leaders after he took control of al Qeada when U.S. military special forces killed Osama Bin Laden in 2011. Officials believe al-Zawahiri was one of the plotters of the horrific 911 terror attack on the U.S.

In a 2013 public statement, al-Zawahiri encouraged Muslims to unite and form a caliphate to rid their lands of foreigners and institute strict Islamic law.

"The enemy has begun to reel and collapse," he claimed in the 103-minute audio message.

Nine years later, al-Zawahiri is dead.

“We make it clear again tonight,” Biden concluded. "That no matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out."

Here's more about the counterterrorism strike:

Successful counterterrorism operation: Ayman Al Zawahiri killed in U.S. drone strike www.youtube.com

[Ed. Note: This article has been updated with additional information.]

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