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Did US use secret ‘ninja’ missile to kill al-Qaeda leader Zawahiri?

As seen on a computer screen from a DVD prepared by Al-Sahab production, al-Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahiri speaks in Islamabad, Pakistan, on June 20, 2006. (AP Photo/B.K.Bangash)
As seen on a computer screen from a DVD prepared by Al-Sahab production, al-Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahiri speaks in Islamabad, Pakistan, on June 20, 2006. (AP Photo/B.K.Bangash)

Notorious al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed by two missiles fired at his Kabul home — but pictures showed no sign of an explosion, and US officials say no one else was harmed.

That points to the use again by the United States of the macabre Hellfire R9X, a warhead-less missile believed equipped with six razor-like blades extending from the fuselage that slices through its target but does not explode.

Never publicly acknowledged by the Pentagon or CIA — the two US agencies known to undertake targeted assassinations of extremist leaders — the R9X first appeared in March 2017 when al-Qaeda senior leader Abu al-Khayr al-Masri was killed by a drone strike while traveling in a car in Syria.

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