Exclusive: Al-Zawahiri was not killed the way Washington reported
US claims of how the country killed Al-Qaeda chief were just refuted by diplomatic sources speaking exclusively to Al Mayadeen.
Diplomatic sources revealed Thursday to Al Mayadeen that the Taliban movement has confirmed the killing of the leader of Al-Qaeda terrorist organization, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, and reliable witnesses in the movement confirmed that they saw his body.
However, the sources said Al-Zawahiri was not killed in the way Washington reported, indicating that the Al-Qaeda chief was killed as a result of a mysterious explosion that was not and cannot be disclosed.
Biden says US killed Al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan
In a televised address, Biden said the strike in Kabul, Afghanistan had been carried out on Saturday. "I gave the final approval to go get him," he said, adding that there had been no civilian casualties.
"Justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more," Biden said.
A senior administration official said Al-Zawahiri had been killed on the balcony of a house in Kabul in a drone strike, and that there had been no US boots on the ground in Afghanistan.
The official said that Al-Zawahiri's presence in the Afghan capital Kabul was a "clear violation" of a deal the Taliban had signed with the US in Doha in 2020 that paved the way for the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
How exactly was Al-Qaeda's Zawahiri killed?
In a "meticulously planned operation" - as proclaimed by US officials - the United States killed Al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan. The US armed forces, which had occupied Afghanistan for 20 years before withdrawing in a humiliating manner last August, fired two Hellfire missiles from a UAV flying over Kabul, striking the terrorist organization leader's house and killing him.
Officials in Washington said the plan was as elaborate as the one that killed Al-Zawahiri's predecessor, Osama bin Laden, in Pakistan in 2011.
"For several years the US government has been aware of a network that we assessed supported Zawahiri," a senior administration official told reporters.
The United States, however, only found out that Al-Zawahiri was in Afghanistan last year when they learned that his family, wife, daughter, and children moved to the Afghan capital.
The official said they were careful, exercising "longstanding terrorist tradecraft" to prevent anyone from tracking them to Al-Zawahiri.
"We identified Zawahiri on multiple occasions for sustained periods of time on the balcony," the official said, though the notorious terrorist had a $25 million bounty on his head.
Reportedly, Washington's forces studied the construction of the home, finalizing a plan using a detailed model of Al-Zawahiri's safehouse in Afghanistan and presenting it to Biden on July 1.
Biden took the decision and issued the order on July 25, just days before the operation took place.
Al-Zawahiri was "killed on the balcony," the US official said, in a strike that involved a UAV armed with two precision-guided Hellfire missiles launched at 6:18 am Sunday, Kabul time.
The strike was carried out using a non-explosive version of Hellfire, the R9X, which deploys a series of knife-like blades from its fuselage and shreds its target. The "flying ginsu" missiles have been used several times by the United States to kill other targets in Washington's scope.
"Zawahiri’s family members were present in other parts of the safe house at the time of the strike and were purposely not targeted and were not harmed," the official noted.