The leader of Al-Qaeda, the Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri, is no more.
The United States conducted an operation to bring down its longtime enemy.
Ayman al-Zawahiri had been spotted "repeatedly and for long periods of time on the balcony where he was finally hit" in the Afghan capital, said Joe Biden, the American president.
The building where the leader of the international terrorist group lived did not show signs of an explosion and no civilian casualties were injured in the operation.
These two elements suggest that the Americans have used one of their secret weapons: the Hellfire R9X, a missile equipped with six razor-shaped blades, which crushes and slices its target but does not explode.
Called "Flying Ginsu" after a famous 1980s American television advertisement for a brand of kitchen knives, the missile has become the ammunition of choice for killing the leaders of jihadist groups, while avoiding civilian casualties.
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It would therefore be a new version of the Hellfire missile, already deployed by the United States in several operational fields.
Like all missiles, the latest Hellfire has the disadvantage of causing significant collateral damage when it explodes.
For the modified "ninja" version, with its large blades, the destructive effect comes mainly from its 45 kg of metal.
Launched at supersonic speed, the R9X can pass through cars and buildings, and of course reach humans.
For the intended target, being hit by such a missile is like "receiving an anvil from the sky", explains the Wall Street Journal
which writes that the R9X has been used by the Pentagon and the CIA before.
An anvil that is both heavy and very sharp...
This "secret weapon" is said to have already killed an Egyptian leader of Al-Qaeda, Abu Khayr al-Masri.
It was also reportedly used for attacks in Libya, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia.