Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, also known as "Dr. Death," has reportedly died of natural causes related to asthma. He last appeared in a 45-minute video message on the anniversary of 9/11 to celebrate the World Trade Center attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.
"He died last week in Ghazni. He died of asthma because he had no formal treatment," according to al-Qaeda translator.
Pakistani officials echoed the message.
"We believe he is no longer alive. We are firm that he has died of natural causes," said a Pakistani security official.
A source close to the terrorist organization also confirmed the alleged death.
"What we know is that he was having some breathing issues and has passed away somewhere in Afghanistan," said a source close to al-Qaeda.
U.S. intelligence officials are attempting to confirm whether the reports are true or not.
Al-Zawahiri's death comes after the deaths of al-Qaeda's second in command Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, known as Abu Muhammad al-Masri, and his daughter, as well as the death of Hamza bin Laden. The three deaths occurred in quick succession, which potentially opens up a power vacuum at the top of al-Qaeda.
Al-Masri and al-Zawahiri are still listed on the FBI's most wanted terrorists page, with the bounty on al-Zawahiri set at $25 million. He is still being described as "armed and dangerous".
🔦 Al-Zawahiri was indicted in 1998 for his part in the attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which left more than 224 people dead and thousands injured. Despite a manhunt after the September 11 attacks, al-Zawahiri has remained in hiding for almost 20 years.