Death of al-Qaeda emir leads to increased surveillance in Kenya

Al-Shabaab has previously pledged obedience to Ayman al-Zawahiri and al-Qaeda

An image grab taken from Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television, 23 June 2006 shows footage of Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri vowing to avenge the death of the network's Iraq frontman Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, killed in a US air raid June 7.  (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

The murder of al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, has sent shockwaves through Kenya's security architecture. This is due to the fact, al-Shabaab might try to retaliate following the killing.

Al-Shabaab has previously pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and Ayman al-Zawahiri in particular. A video released in 2012, shows former al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane express his obedience to al-Zawahiri.

The militant group based in Somalia has previously orchestrated attacks on Kenyan soldiers as well as citizens citing retaliation.

The most recent example of retaliation was on January 5, 2020 when Manda Air Strip used by Kenyan and U.S. troops was attacked by approximately 20-30 al-Shabaab militants.

The camp referred to as Camp Simba, was home to around 100 US personnel along with an undisclosed number of Kenyan troops.

The timing of the attack coincided with the US assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani on January 3, near Baghdad International Airport.

The DusitD2 complex attack that occurred from January 15 to 16, 2019 is another example of a retaliatory attack.

The attack which saw 21 people killed and at least 28 injured was orchestrated in accordance with an al-Qaeda edict demanding retaliation for the relocation of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

US President Joe Biden announced in a speech on Tuesday, August 2 that Zawahiri was killed in a drone strike in Kabul, Afganistan. "I authorized a precision strike that would remove him from the battlefield, once and for all," said Biden.

The drone strike was ordered on July 30 after the US president met with security advisors.

Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon was one of the masterminds involved in the planning of the August 7, 1998, nearly simultaneous bombing of American embassies in Nairobi, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Two hundred and twenty-four people died in the blasts and more than 4,500 people were wounded.

He was also named as the main planner of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US, which left over 3,000 people dead.

He took over leadership of the terror group after its leader Bin Laden was killed in a raid in 2011.

The US government had set a Sh2,965,750,000 ($25 million) reward for his capture but according to reports, Zawahiri enjoyed the protection of the Taliban who took over Afghanistan.

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