How the CIA Tracked and Killed Ayman al-Zawahiri

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For 21 years, the CIA tracked and plotted to kill Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's leader and a key architect of the 9/11 attacks.

Over the years, he was rumored to be living in Pakistan's tribal areas or Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.

By uncovering a network supporting the Egyptian-born doctor, the US spy agency finally identified the al-Qaeda leader and killed him with two Hellfire missiles as he stood on his balcony in an exclusive Kabul neighborhood.

A senior US official told Reuters:

"For several years, the U.S. government had been aware of a network that it assessed supported Zawahiri, and over the past year, following the United States' withdrawal from Afghanistan, officials had been watching for indications of Al Qaeda's presence in the country.

"We were able to build a pattern of life through multiple independent sources of information to inform the operation," the official said.

The operation had been brewing for weeks, Reuters reports.

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