Video grab of Ayman al-Zawahiri (Image: EPA/Al- Arabiya Television/handout)
Video grab of Ayman al-Zawahiri (Image: EPA/Al- Arabiya Television/handout)

“Armed and dangerous” and with a $35 million bounty on his head, al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was declared dead by US President Joe Biden this morning. The “most wanted terrorist” was eliminated during an airstrike in Afghanistan on Saturday, sending a clear signal the US does not forgive or forget.

“No matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out,” Biden said in an address this morning.

Despite al-Qaeda's lower profile in recent years, the death of the co-founder and leader of the 34-year-old terrorist organisation is significant. Professor Greg Barton, chair in global Islamic politics at Deakin Institute, told Crikey that although al-Qaeda has been on the decline since Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011, the world would be wrong to dismiss it as belonging to a past era.