Highlights

  • Around sunrise on July 31, al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahri walked out on the balcony of his house
  • U.S. drone fired two Hellfire missiles at the al-Qaeda leader
  • His presence in Afghanistan had been widely suspected for some time

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How US forces killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri: inside details

According to U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, on this day, a U.S. drone fired two Hellfire missiles at the al-Qaeda leader as he stood on the balcony.

Around sunrise on July 31, al Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahri walked out on the balcony of a house in downtown Kabul.

He apparently lingered outside on the balcony, as U.S. intelligence had noted he often did. According to U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, on this day, a U.S. drone fired two Hellfire missiles at the al-Qaeda leader as he stood.

His presence in Afghanistan had been widely suspected for some time. U.S. officials learned this year that Zawahri's wife and other family members had moved to a safe house in Kabul recently. Zawahri soon followed.

Also watch: Biden: killing of al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri is long-sought 'justice'

U.S. officials, joined by top leaders all the way up to President Joe Biden, spent careful months confirming his identity — and his fateful practice of standing alone on that same balcony — and planned the strike.

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