Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has been killed in a CIA drone strike in Afghanistan, United States officials have said.
Al-Zawahiri was killed over the weekend in what would be the biggest blow to the group since its founder Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011.
An Egyptian surgeon with a $25m reward on his head, al-Zawahiri helped coordinate the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US that killed nearly 3,000 people.
One of the US officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the CIA carried out a drone strike in the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday.
“Over the weekend, the United States conducted a counterterrorism operation against a significant al Qaeda target in Afghanistan,” a senior administration official said in a statement to reporters. “The operation was successful and there were no civilian casualties,” the official added.
It was not immediately clear how the US, which does not have troops on the ground, confirmed that al-Zawahiri had been killed.
The Taliban confirmed there was an attack in Kabul, and condemned it as a “violation of international principles”.