How US Drone Attack Killed Al Qaeda Leader But Not His Family

  • Bernd Debusmann Jr and Chris Partridge
  • BBC News

The alleged location of the US attack
photo caption,

This is the alleged attack site in Kabul — with the balcony now covered

Just over an hour after sunrise on July 31, longtime al-Qaida leader, Ayman al-Zawahiriwalked to the balcony of a compound in central Kabul — reportedly the veteran Egyptian jihadist’s favorite after-prayer activity.

This would be the last thing I would do.

At 06:18 local time (01:38 GMT), two missiles hit the balcony, killing the 71-year-old man but leaving his wife and daughter unharmed inside. All the damage caused by the attack appears to be concentrated on the balcony.

How was it possible to attack with such precision? In the past, the US has come under fire for targeting errors in attacks that killed civilians.

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