Ayman Al Zawahri, from being a doctor to the most wanted terrorist in the United States

With that offer in 1980, Al Zawahri embarked on a life that after three decades would take him to the top of the world’s most feared terrorist group: Al Qaeda, after the death of Osama bin Laden.

Being already a experienced militant seeking the overthrow of the “infidel” regime in Egypt since the age of 15, Al-Zawahri he took a trip to the Afghan war zone, which opened his eyes to new possibilities.

What he saw wasthe training course that prepared young Muslim mujahideen to launch their next battle against the great power that would rule the world: the United States”, he wrote in a 2001 biography-manifesto.

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Al Zawahri, 71, was killed over the weekend by a US drone in Afghanistan. President Joe Biden announced the death Monday night in an address to the nation.

The attack is likely to cause more disruption within the network than Bin Laden’s death in 2011.since it is much less clear who his successor would be.

$!In this available 1998 photo Ayman al-Zawahri, left, listens during a news conference with Osama bin Laden in Khost, Afghanistan.

In this available 1998 photo Ayman al-Zawahri, left, listens during a news conference with Osama bin Laden in Khost, Afghanistan.

As Bin Laden’s right-hand man (the young Saudi millionaire he met in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region), Al Zawahri was a crucial element in pointing the jihadist movement’s weapons at the United States. Under his leadership, al Qaeda carried out the deadliest attack ever on American soil: the suicide hijackings of September 11, 2001..

The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon made Bin Laden the number 1 enemy of the United States. But it is likely that he would never have been able to carry them out without his attachment.

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While bin Laden came from a privileged background in a prominent Saudi family, Al Zawahri had the experience of a surreptitious revolutionary. Bin Laden brought al Qaeda charisma and money, but Al Zawahri brought the tactics and organizational skills necessary to forge militants into a network of cells in countries around the world.

Bin Laden always admired himsaid terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman of Georgetown University.

When the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 wiped out the refuge of Al Qaedaay scattered, killed and captured its members, Al Zawahri guaranteed the survival of Al Qaeda. He rebuilt his leadership in the border region between afghanistan and pakistan and installed his allies as lieutenants in key positions.

Also became the public face of the movementbroadcasting a constant stream of video messages while bin Laden he was basically hiding.

$!In this file image from television broadcast by the Arabic news channel Al-Jazeera on January 30, 2006.

In this file image from television broadcast by the Arabic news channel Al-Jazeera on January 30, 2006.

With his bushy beard, thick-rimmed glasses, and a lesion on his forehead caused by prostration in prayer, he was notoriously poignant and pedantic. He feuded ideologically with critics within the jihadist camp, and in videos of him waving his hand with his finger extended as if he were scolding someone. Even some key figures in the central leadership of Al Qaeda were alienated, and he was branded as excessively controlling, secretive and divisive, which contrasted with bin Ladenwhose presence and soft voice many militants describe in adoring, almost spiritual terms.

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Still, he transformed the organization from a central planner of terrorist attacks to the head of a franchise chain. He led the creation of a network of autonomous branches throughout the region, including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, North Africa, Somalia and Asia.

In the decade after 11Sep, Al Qaeda inspired or directly participated in attacks in all those areas, as well as in Europe, Pakistan and Turkey, including the 2004 Madrid train bombings and the 2005 London public transport bombings. More recently, the subsidiary of Al Qaeda in Yemen it has proven capable of planning attacks on US soil with an attempted bombing attack in 2009 on a US airliner and a package bomb attempt the following year.

$!In this 1998 photo provided on March 19, 2004, Ayman al Zawahri poses for the camera in Khost, Afghanistan.

In this 1998 photo provided on March 19, 2004, Ayman al Zawahri poses for the camera in Khost, Afghanistan.

After the death of bin Laden in a US raid on his compound Abbottabad, Pakistan, Al Qaeda proclaimed Al Zawahri its supreme leader less than two months later.

The jihad against the United Statesdoes not stop with the death of a commander or leader“, said.

The 2011 Arab Spring uprisings across the Middle East threatened to deal a severe blow to Al Qaeda, by showing that jihad was not the only way to get rid of Arab autocrats. It was mainly pro-democracy liberals and leftists who led the uprising that toppled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the goal that Al Zawahri failed to achieve for a long time.

But Al Zawahri tried to seize the wave of uprisings, insisting that they would have been impossible had the 9/11 attacks not weakened the United States. And he urged Islamist hardliners to pick up the slack in nations whose leaders had fallen.

Al-Zawahri He was born on June 19, 1951, into an upper-middle-class family of doctors and academics, in the Cairo suburb of Maadi.

$!Al-Jazeera, Osama bin Laden (r) listens as his top lieutenant Ayman Al Zawahri speaks at an undisclosed location.

Al-Jazeera, Osama bin Laden (r) listens as his top lieutenant Ayman Al Zawahri speaks at an undisclosed location.

from very young was drawn to the radical writings of Sayed Qutbthe Egyptian Islamist who taught that the Arab regimes were “infidels” and should be replaced by an Islamic government.

In the 1970s, while earning his medical degree, he was active in militant circles. He joined his own militant cell with others to form the group Islamic Jihadand began trying to infiltrate the army, even storing weapons in his private clinic.

Then came the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981 at the hands of militants from the Islamic Jihad. The murder was carried out by a different cell of the group, and Al-Zawahri he wrote that he learned of the plot just hours before the assassination. But he was arrested along with hundreds of other militants and spent three years in prison.

Upon his release in 1984, Al Zawahri returned to Afghanistan and joined Arab militants from across the Middle East who were fighting alongside the Afghans against the Soviets. He allied himself with Bin Laden, who became a heroic figure for his financial support of the Mujahideen..

Al Zawahri followed Bin Laden to his new base in Sudan.and from there led a regrouped faction of Islamic Jihad in a violent campaign of attacks aimed at overthrowing the US-allied Egyptian government.

The move failed. But Al Zawahri would bring to Al Qaeda the tactics he perfected in Islamic Jihad.

He promoted the use of suicide bombings, which would become the hallmark of Al Qaeda. In 1995 he planned a suicide car bombing of the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad, in which 16 people were killed, which preceded the attacks on Al Qaeda in 1998 against the United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, in which more than 200 people died, attacks for which Al Zawahri was indicted in the United States.

In 1996, Sudan expelled bin Laden, who brought his fighters back to Afghanistan, where they found a safe haven under the radical Taliban regime. One more time, Al-Zawahri he followed it.

By Lee Keath The Associated Press.

Source: Vanguardia

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