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The White House has released an image Tuesday showing President Biden huddling with his national security team ahead of the airstrike that resulted in the death of al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri.
The photo was captured on July 1 in the buildup to the U.S.-led counterterrorism operation in Kabul, Afghanistan, that unfolded over the weekend.
“At this meeting, the President was briefed on the proposed operation and shown a model of the safe house where Al-Zawahri was hiding,” the White House said in a statement.
The 71-year-old al Qaeda leader had ruled the terrorist organization since the death of Usama bin Laden in July 2011.
President Joe Biden is shown here on July 1 during a meeting “to discuss the counterterrorism operation to take out Ayman al-Zawahri,” the White House says. (White House)
A one-time surgeon, Zawahiri was known by U.S. intelligence as a terrorist mastermind for helping plot the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Usama bin Laden and al Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahri sitting side by side (Hamid Mir/Editor/Ausaf Newspaper for Daily Dawn/Handout via Reuters/File Photo)
“We make it clear again tonight that no matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out,” said President Biden.
Al Qaeda leader Ayman Al Zawahri speaks on the 11th anniversary of Usama bin Laden’s death. (AP Photo/Mazhar Ali Khan, File)
The drone strike was the first one publicly acknowledged by the White House since U.S. troops withdrew from Afghanistan last year. The withdrawal saw the U.S. abandon billions in military equipment, air bases, and prisons crammed with enemy combatants to the Taliban.
Fox News’ Haris Alic contributed to this report.