The United States killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a drone strike, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

Zawahiri, who just turned 71, had remained a visible international symbol of the group, 11 years after the US killed Osama Bin Laden.

At one point, he acted as Bin Laden’s personal physician. The US government has not yet confirmed his death.

In this 1998 file photo made available Friday, March 19, 2004, Ayman al-Zawahri, holds a press conference with Osama bin Laden (not seen) in Khost, Afghanistan.
In this 1998 file photo made available Friday, March 19, 2004, Ayman al-Zawahri, holds a press conference with Osama bin Laden (not seen) in Khost, Afghanistan. (AP)
President Joe Biden will speak at 9.30am AEST on “a successful counterterrorism operation” against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, the White House said Monday.

“Over the weekend, the United States conducted a counterterrorism operation against a significant Al Qaeda target in Afghanistan. The operation was successful and there were no civilian casualties,” a senior administration official said.

Biden, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday as he deals with a rebound case of the virus, will speak outdoors from the Blue Room Balcony at the White House.

Osama bin Laden (L) sits with Al Qaeda top strategist Ayman al-Zawahri in this 2001 file photo.
Osama bin Laden (L) sits with al-Qaeda top strategist Ayman al-Zawahri in this 2001 file photo. (AP)

Zawahiri comes from a distinguished Egyptian family, according to the New York Times.

His grandfather, Rabia’a al-Zawahiri, was an imam at al-Azhar University in Cairo. His great-uncle, Abdel Rahman Azzam, was the first secretary of the Arab League.

The US State Department offered a reward of up to A$35.6 million for information leading directly to the capture of Zawahiri.

A June 2021 United Nations report suggested he was located somewhere in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and that he may have been too frail to be featured in propaganda.

More to come.

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