Ayman al-Zawahiri | Biography | Personal Life | Organizations | Death

Ayman al-Zawahiri was an Egyptian-born physician and Islamic Jihadist leader. He was the second-in-command of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda, serving as deputy to Osama bin Laden. He was the top candidate to succeed bin Laden in 2010. Al-Zawahiri is considered one of al Qaeda’s most influential leaders after its founder Osama Bin Laden. He is also al-Qaeda‘s Chief Executive Officer. Al-Zawahiri joined the mujahideen in Afghanistan and worked at a relief center for refugees fleeing into Pakistan, run by the Services Bureau. After the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan, al-Zawahiri returned to Egypt where he helped form Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), an organization intended to replace Egypt’s government with an Islamic state.

Al-Zawahiri was designated as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” by the U.S. State Department in December 2001. The United States government also accused him of being involved in the 1998 assassination of Egyptian prime minister Ahmed Shuqair, but al-Zawahiri stated that he had only financed and recruited a member of the group who had later been arrested for the murder, and denied responsibility for it.

Al-Zawahiri has been on the United States’ most wanted list since its inception on 10 September 2001. In 2001, his name was placed on the Interpol Most Wanted list. In the video announcing bin Laden’s death, al-Zawahiri confirmed his loyalty to the new leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri.

On 5 May 2011, al-Zawahiri was appointed as the leader of al-Qaeda. He released a 24-minute video in early February 2012. This video is an audio message to the people of the Peninsula, which includes a warning that Islamists are on their way to “purify” their land; he also claims that they will soon be able to “avert our eyes away from you” as Egyptian leaders “tie your hands”.

Ayman Al-Zawahiri Biography

He was born in 1951 in Giza, Kingdom of Egypt. Born in a family of doctors, al-Zawahiri graduated from Cairo University’s School of Medicine in 1974. He initially joined the Muslim Brotherhood, but due to his beliefs, he was expelled in 1981. In 1984, he co-founded Egyptian Islamic Jihad and became its leader after the arrest of group founder Dr. Aboud al-Zumarai by Egyptian authorities. Due to his membership to this group, he served three continuous terms in prison between 1984 and 1995.

He lived in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh from 1995 to 1999. He also worked as a key member of al-Qaeda before he returned to Afghanistan in 1999 to take up his leadership role at the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. In 2002, he gave an interview with Al Jazeera Host Jamal Elshayyal. While in prison, he was permitted to read newspapers and magazines including Arab News, Al Ahram and The National. He is fluent in English and Arabic.

In August 2009, it was reported that the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) once considered a plan to assassinate al-Zawahiri in Qatar, and planned to use an undercover agent posing as a defector from al-Qaeda as the hitman in the plot. On 5 August 2011, al-Arabiya reported that the U.S. State Department had approved the placing of a reward worth up to US$25 million for information leading to his arrest.

On 28 June 2011, al-Zawahiri was officially named as the new leader of al-Qaeda. He assumed the role after U.S. Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden during a raid at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Since then, he has released a number of statements condemning the United States, Israel and Arab leaders. He also criticized the Arab Spring, which he claimed was supported by Western powers.

Marriages and children

Ayman al-Zawahiri has been married at least four times. Al-Zawahiri married his first wife, Azza Ahmed Nowari, a philosophy student at Cairo University, in 1978. They had six children together. After the September 11 attacks on the United States, Ayman al-Zawahiri’s first wife Azza and two of their six children, Mohammad and Aisha, were killed in an airstrike on Afghanistan by US forces in late December 2001.

In 2005, One of Ayman al-Zawahiri’s three surviving wife gave birth to a daughter named Nawwar. According to media reports, Al-Zawahiri’s third wife is a native of Saudi Arabia. She also gave birth to at least two children.

in June 2012 One of al-four Zawahiri’s wives, Umaima Hassan, posted a message on the internet praising the role Muslim women had in the Arab Spring. She is also believed to have penned a booklet outlining the contribution of women to jihad.

Militant activities

Ayman al-Zawahiri’s militant activities started in Egypt in the early 1980s. He was imprisoned from 1984 to 1995, and from 2001 to 2007. He left Egypt for Afghanistan after US forces invaded the country in 2001. There he became the top leader of al-Qaeda since Osama bin Laden’s death in May 2011. Many of al-Qaeda’s key figures, including Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden, have been killed by U.S. forces or affiliates in recent years. Al-Zawahiri reportedly is al-Qaeda’s second-in-command after Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces. His knowledge of international events and his role as a voice for radical Islamic forces makes him a leader for the groups.

Al-Zawahiri has been known to be involved in many terrorist activities since 1990, including involvement in attacks and plots in Egypt, the United States, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Somalia. He was also a key figure in the 1998 United States embassy bombings and the attack on the U.S.S. Cole. It is also suspected that he was involved in the 1981 Sadat assassination and a conspiracy to blow up multiple Saudi royal family members during Ramadan 2003.

Other activites

He is also suspected of being a key figure behind the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In these attacks, al-Zawahiri was reported to have been intimately involved in the planning, financing and training of the hijackers. It is also believed that he coordinated with Mohammed Atef who was killed three days before 9/11.

The U.S. State Department added al-Zawahiri to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists on 22 August 2006, and the U.S. Treasury Department also added him to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists on 13 November 2006. On 10 February 2008, al-Zawahiri was placed on the U.S.’s list of most wanted terrorists, which already includes Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri was later added to the list due to numerous alleged crimes by al-Qaeda and other groups. On 1 September 2007, al-Zawahiri was also on the 26 most wanted list of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Rewards for Justice Program. He is also believed to be on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists List.


Al-Zawahiri was a founder and leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), which was responsible for numerous militant attacks and operations, including the assassination of President Anwar Sadat, until the group was destroyed in a 2003 military operation. He is also known to be one of the founders of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which was later merged with Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda organization to create al-Qaeda.

Maktab al-Khadamat (KMD), an organization he founded in 1990, is suspected of being involved in terrorist activities, including suicide bombings and plots.

He became the top leader of al-Qaeda after Osama bin Laden was killed in May 2011. Since then, he has released numerous statements criticising the United States, Israel, and Arab leaders. He is also known to be a key figure in the violent opposition to the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.


Al-Zawahiri was reportedly killed in an airstrike on July 31, 2022, by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in Afghanistan. The U.S. government has declared that the al-Qaeda leader was killed in a drone strike. At the White House, President Joe Biden declared that in early 2022, when al-Zawahiri walked into the centre of Kabul, the U.S. Intelligence Community had tracked him down. A week earlier, President Biden had given the operation the go-ahead. Biden also stated that the operation did not harm any members of al-Zawahiri’s family or other civilians.