Notorious Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed by two rockets fired at his home in Kabul – but the photos showed no sign of an explosion and US officials said no one else was injured. harmful.
That suggests the US has repurposed the macabre Hellfire R9X, a warheadless missile said to be armed with six razor-like blades extending from the fuselage that cut through the target but failed to explode.
Never publicly acknowledged by the Pentagon or the CIA – two US agencies known to carry out targeted assassinations of extremist leaders – the R9X first appeared in March 2017 when the Senior Al-Qaeda leader Abu al-Khayr al-Masri was killed by a drone strike while traveling in his car in Syria.
Photographs of the car show a large hole in the roof, with the metal of the car and the entire interior, including the occupants, shredded. But the front and rear of the car appear completely intact.
Until that time, Hellfire missiles – fired by drones in targeted attacks – were known for their powerful explosions and often caused massive damage and death.
As of 2017, several other sophisticated targeted attacks produce similar results.
Details of the mysterious weapon have been leaked and it has been dubbed the “flying ginsu”, after a popular 1980s TV commercial about Japanese kitchen knives that appear to cut clean. through aluminum cans and remains perfectly sharp.
Also known as the “ninja bomb”, this missile has become the weapon of choice for the US to destroy leaders of extremist groups while avoiding civilian casualties.
That’s clearly what happened to Zawahiri.
A US official told reporters that on the morning of July 31, Zawahiri was standing alone on the balcony of his residence in Kabul when an American drone launched two Hell fires.
Clear photographs of the building show blown out windows on one floor, but the rest of the building, including windows on other floors, remains intact.
Members of Zawahiri’s family were present in the home, but were “not the target and were not harmed”, the official said.
“We have no indication that civilians were harmed in this strike,” the official added.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and was automatically generated from the syndication feed.)