Septuagenarian leader of terrorist group dead from CIA drone strike. There may be an address by POTUS at 730pmET.
(CNN)The United States killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a drone strike, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.
Zawahiri, who just turned 71 years old, had remained a visible international symbol of the group, 11 years after the US killed Osama Bin Laden. At one point, he acted as bin Laden's personal physician.
The US government has not yet confirmed his death. President Joe Biden will speak at 7:30 p.m. ET on "a successful counterterrorism operation" against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, the White House said Monday.
"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," a senior administration official said.
Biden, who tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday as he deals with a rebound case of the virus, will speak outdoors from the Blue Room Balcony at the White House.
Zawahiri comes from a distinguished Egyptian family, according to the New York Times. His grandfather, Rabia'a al-Zawahiri, was an imam at al-Azhar University in Cairo. His great-uncle, Abdel Rahman Azzam, was the first secretary of the Arab League.
The US State Department offered a reward of up to $25 million for information leading directly to the capture of Zawahiri.
A June 2021 United Nations report suggested he was located somewhere in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and that he may have been too frail to be featured in propaganda.