Ayman al-Zawahiri ‘dead’ – Al-Qaeda boss dies from asthma in Afghan mountain hideout, reports claim

AL-QAEDA leader Ayman al-Zawahiri who took over from Osama bin Laden has reportedly died in Afghanistan.

Al-Zawahiri – dubbed Dr Death -last appeared in a video message on the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on the US.

Arab News reports the terrorist, 68, died of natural causes related to asthma citing four sources in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

US intelligence officials are reportedly aware of the reports and are attempting to confirm whether or not they are true.

The Sun Online has contacted the UK Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office.

An al-Qaeda translator told Arab News: "He died last week in Ghazni. He died of asthma because he had no formal treatment."

A Pakistani security official added: "We believe he is no longer alive. We are firm that he has died of natural causes."

Another source close to al-Qaeda said he died earlier this month and a small number of followers attended his funeral.

"What we know is that he was having some breathing issues and has passed away somewhere in Afghanistan," they said.

Other security sources were cited as being aware the terrorist was "extremely ill" and another said he was in "unstable health".

It comes after the death ofal-Qaeda's second in commend Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, also known as Abu Muhammad al-Masri, is said to have been killed.

He was reportedly shot dead along with his daughter by two hitmen on a motorcycle in Tehran, Iran, in August.

Both their deaths in such quick succession opens up a potential power vacuum at the top of the organisation.

It also follows the death of Hamza bin Laden – Osama's son – in a US counter terrorism operation in 2019.

The FBI still lists al-Masri and al-Zawahiri on their most wanted terrorists page, with the bounty on the al-Qaeda boss's head being $25million.

The terrorist is described as "armed and dangerous".

He was indicted for his role in the devastating attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed more than 224 people and injured thousands more in 1998.

In 2005, he praised the 7/7 London bombings, which left 56 dead — calling
Britain “one of the severest enemies of Islam”.

Al- Zawahiri, a former Egyptian eye surgeon, succeeded bin Laden after he was killed by US special forces during a daring raid on his compound in 2011.

He had been seen as the brains behind the global terrorist network and his remained in hiding despite efforts from the West.

The terrorist appeared in a 45-minute video message in September released by the group to celebrate the attacks on the World Trade Centre that killed 2,996 people.

He said: "Flames of war between the Crusaders and the Muslims have not been extinguished."

Al-Zawahiri also raged against the US for tightening ties with Israel.

And he accused any Muslim nations normalizing relations with Israel of being "dangerous enemies".

Al-Zawahiri was born into a family of well-to-do doctors and scholars in Cairo, with his grandfather being the grand imam of al-Azhar, the centre of Sunni Islamic learning in the Middle East.

Zawahiri excelled at school and enjoyed poetry but is said to have loathed “violent” sport.

He was just 15-years-old when he was first arrested for being in the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

In 1974, he graduated from Cairo University’s medical school, where his father was a professor.

Four years later he obtained a masters in surgery and wed a philosophy student before being a practicing doctor.

He joined Egyptian Islamic Jihad. In 1981 he was among hundreds of militants rounded up after president Anwar Sadat was shot dead for signing a peace deal with Israel.

He was convicted of possessing firearms and beaten during his three-year sentence.

On his release he left for Saudi Arabia, where he met Bin Laden. He became his right-hand man when he founded al-Qaeda in 1988.

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