Biden announces U.S. operation killed al-Qaida leader who helped plan 9/11

Speaking on Monday evening, President Biden said the U.S. conducted an airstrike in Afghanistan on Saturday that killed Ayman al-Zawahri, who was one of the masterminds behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and who took over as leader of al-Qaida after the death of Osama bin Laden.

Video transcript

JOE BIDEN: On Saturday, at my direction, the United States successfully concluded an airstrike in Kabul, Afghanistan, that killed the emir of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri. You know, Zawahri was bin Laden's leader, he was with him all-- the whole time. He was his number two man, his deputy, at the time of terrorist attack of 9/11.

He was deeply involved in the planning of 9/11, one of the most responsible for the attacks that murdered 2,977 people on American soil. For decades, he was the mastermind behind attacks against Americans, including the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, which killed 17 American sailors and wounded dozens more.

He played a key role-- a key role in the bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224 and wounding over 4,500 others. He carved a trail of murder and violence against American citizens, American service members, American diplomats, and American interests.

And since the United States delivered justice to bin Laden 11 years ago, Zawahiri has been a leader of al-Qaeda, the leader. From hiding, he coordinated al-Qaeda's branches and-- all around the world, including setting priorities for providing operational guidance that called for and inspired attacks against US targets.

He made videos, including in recent weeks calling for his followers to attack the United States and our allies. Now, justice has been delivered and this terrorist leader is no more. People around the world no longer need to fear the vicious and determined killer.