Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri Biography

Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri

Al-Qaeda's theological leader
Born: 6/9/1951
Birthplace: Cairo, Egypt

Born into an affluent family, al-Zawahiri became active in militant Islam at an early age. At 15 he was arrested for membership in the Muslim Brotherhood, which sought to remove foreign influence from Egyptian society. Al-Zawahiri graduated from medical school in 1974. In the 1970s he joined the Egyptian Islamist movement, and served three years in prison, where he was tortured, in connection to the assassination of President Anwar Sadat. After his release he went to Saudi Arabia and the Pakistan, finally moving to Afghanistan, where he became Osama bin Laden's personal physician and an important adviser. Al-Zawahiri is suspected of helping organize the 1997 massacre of 67 foreign tourists at Luxor and was indicted by the U.S. in connection with the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa. Suspected of involvement in a series of assassinations and bombings against Egyptian targets. He was later sentenced to death by an Egyptian court. Al-Zawahiri is believed to have helped organize the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The U.S. has offered a $25 million reward for al-Zawahiri.