Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri, who has a £20million US bounty on his head, could be handed over to intelligence after peace talks with the Taliban
Western intelligence agencies are closing in on the last remaining mastermind of the 9/11 horror.
Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri is the world’s most-wanted terrorist with a £20million US bounty on his head.
There have been bids to kill him in missile blitzes over the past 18 years but he stayed a step ahead of the CIA.
But now, peace talks with the Taliban could lead to a handover of the 67-year-old, who is believed to be hiding along the Afghan-Pakistan border.
A former British intelligence officer said: “As one of the architects of 9/11, his targeting would be a huge plus for an American president like Trump.
“Zawahiri is very exposed because of recent events, especially if he is on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, an area likely controlled by the Taliban.
“Local groups will not want to be embarrassed by Zawahiri’s presence.
“It is possible intelligence on his whereabouts will be shared and that could easily result in his elimination.
“You cannot underestimate the American energy for revenge for the September 11 attacks, so there is plenty of commitment still to track down Zawahiri.
“This would be a welcome political score for Trump.”
The Egyptian former surgeon, known as “the teacher”, commands 40,000 jihadists. He last surfaced in a 2014 video in which he called for an al-Qaeda resurgence in India.