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Hellfire R9X: The Silent Deadly Missile That Killed Al Qaeda Chief Ayman al-Zawahiri

The missile, sometimes known as the "ninja bomb," has emerged as the US's go-to weapon for eliminating terrorist group leaders

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Russell Chattaraj
Russell Chattaraj
Mechanical engineering graduate, writes about science, technology and sports, teaching physics and mathematics, also played cricket professionally and passionate about bodybuilding.

UNITED STATES: The US military executed a drone hit in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, and killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of Al Qaeda. According to a senior official in the Biden administration, Zawahiri was on the balcony of a residence in Kabul when he was hit by two Hellfire R9X missiles on July 31 at about an hour after sunrise.

US President Joe Biden announced his death on television and highlighted that no civilian casualties were reported during the operation that took place over the weekend. In contrast to other missiles, the Hellfire R9x is designed to do less damage.

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The official claims that Mr Biden authorised the strike on July 25 while he was recuperating in isolation from COVID-19.

However, pictures from the Kabul residence where Zawahiri was residing did not reveal any evidence of an explosion, suggesting that the US had once more used the gruesome Hellfire R9X.

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The Hellfire R9X Missile

The missile, sometimes known as the ‘ninja bomb,’ has emerged as the US’s go-to weapon for eliminating terrorist group leaders while minimising civilian losses.

‘Predator drone’ is used to launch the missile. It doesn’t have a warhead, but it does unleash six blades that fly in quickly, crush, and slice the target.

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This explains why it is known as the ‘flying Ginsu,’ a reference to a 1980 TV commercial for Japanese kitchen knives that could easily cut through aluminium cans while maintaining their razor-sharp edge.

Photo Credit: Twitter

Online images demonstrate the effects of these missiles. According to an old image posted on Twitter, a car in Idlib, Syria, was destroyed by a Hellfire R9X.

The two organisations that carry out targeted killings, the Pentagon and the CIA, have never admitted using the Hellfire R9X missile.

Need for the missile 

According to the sources, the missiles were developed as a result of former US President Obama’s attention to preventing civilian casualties in US attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, and other nations.

Only under special conditions—particularly when a terrorist chief has been identified—is the R9X type of Hellfire deployed. By lowering the chance of killing nearby innocent individuals, it is meant to decrease damage in comparison to conventional missiles.

According to the reports, the weapon was in development as early as 2011.

Prior use of the missile

According to sources, it is believed that the Hellfire missile had been fired half a dozen times, including in operations in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Somalia, quoting US Defense Department officials.

The Hellfire R9X has a length of slightly more than five feet, weighs somewhat more than 100 pounds, and doesn’t leave any telltale markings like charred shell casings or mangled marks.

Also Read: Ayman Al-Zawahiri’s Killing Will Bring Comfort to 9/11 Victims: Joe Biden

Author

  • Russell Chattaraj

    Mechanical engineering graduate, writes about science, technology and sports, teaching physics and mathematics, also played cricket professionally and passionate about bodybuilding.

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