Saudi Arabia has welcomed the announcement by the US that Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri has been killed.
The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reports the statement came shortly after President Joe Biden announced that the United States had killed one of the world’s most wanted terrorists and a mastermind of the September 11 attacks back in 2001.
The Saudi foreign ministry said Zawahiri was “considered one of the leaders of terrorism that led the planning and execution of heinous terrorist operations in the United States, Saudi Arabia and a number of other countries of the world.”
“Thousands of innocent people of different nationalities and religions, including Saudi citizens, were killed.”
“The Kingdom’s government stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation and concerted international efforts to combat and eradicate terrorism, calling on all countries to cooperate in this framework to protect innocent people from terrorist organizations,” the statement said.
In a televised address, Biden said he gave the final go-ahead for the high-precision strike that successfully targeted Zawahiri in the Afghan capital, Kabul, over the weekend.
“Justice has been delivered, and this terrorist leader is no more,” Biden said, adding that he hoped al Zawahiri’s death would bring “closure” to families of the 3,000 people killed in the United States on 9/11.”
A senior administration official said Zawahiri was on the balcony of a house in Kabul when he was targeted with two Hellfire missiles an hour after sunrise on 31 July and that there had been no US boots on the ground in Afghanistan.
Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon who grew up in a comfortable Cairo household before turning to violent radicalism, had been on the run for 20 years since the 9/11 attacks.
He took over Al-Qaeda after Osama bin Laden was killed by US special forces in Pakistan in 2011 and had a $25 million US bounty on his head.