Al-Qaida chief’s killing comes as group gains ground in African conflict zones

UN says terror organisation, whose affiliate recently attacked Mali’s most important military base, ‘is once again the leader of global jihad’

It was one of Ayman al-Zawahiri’s last victories. Just over a week before the al-Qaida leader was killed in Kabul by missiles fired from a US drone, militants from the organisation’s biggest affiliate in sub-Saharan Africa attacked the most important military base in Mali.

The tactics of the attack were familiar – suicide bombers blowing a gap in defences to allow gunmen to reached stunned defenders – but the operation marked a major escalation.

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