Ayman al-Zawahiri’s death: What is the Hellfire R9X missile that the Americans purportedly used?

After President Joe Biden’s announcement on 1st August, the information about the weapon used in the death of Ayman al-Zawahiri, one of Al-Qaeda’s operatives, remains uncertain.

“US unmanned aerial vehicles” conducted an “aerial assault” on Tuesday morning, as confirmed by Kabul, after initially denying a drone strike and describing a “missile” hitting “an unoccupied residence”. No US military personnel on the field was required, as stated by a US official who informed the media anonymously that the drone released two Hellfire missiles. President Biden referenced the drone strike in his brief address from the White House.

The Pentagon has never verified the utilization of a covert projectile, but its usage is thought to have been implicated in previous deliberate killings of radical leaders. All these indicators indicate the employment of a clandestine missile, which was present in the residence even though the household of the Al-Qaeda chief was present, despite the absence of any signs of a blast on the intended structure or unintended casualties.

What are the indications following the American attack?

Al-Zawahiri Ayman was killed on 31 July when two missiles hit a house in Kabul. The three-story home is located in Sherpur, an affluent area of the Afghan capital, where several villas are occupied by senior Taliban commanders and officials.

US authorities confirmed that there was no evidence of a blast in the structure and no other individuals sustained injuries during the mission. The US official further stated that the Al-Qaeda chief had been observed “repeatedly and for extended durations” on the balcony where he was ultimately struck by the attack.

The building is still intact, with the exception of blown-out windows on one floor. Photos show windows on that floor, as well as other windows in the building. He added, “No one was injured, and the family members present in the house were not deliberately targeted.”

What exactly is a Hellfire R9X missile?

The CIA used another type of developed missile, the Hellfire R9X – the AGM-114, as suggested by former American investigative journalist Jay Hancock. They used this missile to strike Al-Zawahiri’s house, and the powerful explosions from these Hellfire missiles are known to cause collateral damage. US officials did not mention the use of Hellfire missiles specifically.

Weapon CIA used to get al-Zawahiri. Kinetic Hellfire R9X. No warhead explosives, just blades that swing out to kill… https://t.co/4fkV8OFJeD

Devoid of any explosive impact, the R9X effortlessly tears through its intended objective, featuring six blades that unfurl prior to striking. Originating from the Obama administration, this weapon, commonly referred to as the “ninja bomb,” purportedly does not possess any detonating charge.

The famous kitchen knife brand Ginsu became well-known in the 1980s for its ability to cleanly cut through aluminum cans and remain perfectly sharp. It was named the “Flying Ginsu” after a mysterious weapon. The use of the R9X, a weapon that is capable of targeted assassinations, has never been officially acknowledged by the CIA or Pentagon, the two entities responsible for extremist leaders’ assassinations.

Previous cases, but no verification

The car’s front and back appeared completely intact, but the occupants and the interior of the vehicle had been shredded. The photos showed a large hole through the roof of the car. In March 2017, the existence of such a missile strike was first mentioned when senior Al-Qaeda leader Abu Kheir Al-Masri was killed by a drone strike while traveling in a car in Syria.

In 2019, an American press confirmed that the Americans used their investigation to confirm that Badaoui Al-Jamal, the deputy considered to be the mastermind behind the October 2000 suicide attack on the USS Cole destroyer in the port of Aden, died that year. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on this.

The newspaper was informed by US officials that the missile, referred to as the Hellfire R9X, is described as an anvil that drops from the sky at high velocity. The WSJ reports that this weapon has been utilized multiple times in different assaults in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Somalia.