The two men created the plan for the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York on September 11, 2001 (via CNN). Al-Zawahiri didn’t try to hide his motives; instead, he created some video and audio messages targeting Western culture. He attempted to recruit Muslims to join the attacks in an attempt to retaliate against the CIA and other U.S. officials, who he thought had wronged him on several occasions.

After the 9/11 attacks, the two were always on the run from American soldiers. In Afghanistan, al-Zawahiri lived with his family for some time. He evaded American troops, though in one attack in the Tora Bora region, he escaped, but his wife and children were killed.

In 2001, Zawahiri reached a new level of infamy: He was added to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list, only second to his boss, Bin Laden. Now highly influential to followers, his messages could inspire more violence: In 2003, his recordings reportedly inspired suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia that killed 23 people, nine of whom were Americans (per CNN).

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