- Al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane said he "pledged obedience" to al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri
- Officials said Zawahiri was on the balcony of a safe house when the drone fired two missiles at him
Security was heightened at various places in Kenya following reports one of the masterminds of the 1998 terrorist attack on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and Osama bin Laden’s successor Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed.
Kenyan security officials said they feared the al-Shabaab militant group might try to retaliate following the killing.
This is because in a joint video released in February 2012, then al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane said he "pledged obedience" to al-Qaeda head Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Al-Shabaab has been attacking several parts of the country in attacks that have led to deaths and property destruction.
Officials aware of the developments said they “changed the gear” after the reports came out on the killing of Zawahiri.
“We know some remnants may try to retaliate and we have changed the gear for now,” said the official.
Security agents manning various locations were instructed to “heighten their vigilance and disrupt any possible threat”.
Zawahiri was linked to the 1998 attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, in which 223 people died.
The attack happened on August 7, 1998, and the killing is seen as a way of getting justice for the victims of the bombing.
Zawahiri was killed in a counter-terrorism operation carried out by the CIA in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Sunday.
President Joe Biden said Zawahiri had "carved a trail of murder and violence against American citizens".
Officials said Zawahiri was on the balcony of a safe house when the drone fired two missiles at him.
Other family members were present, but they were unharmed and only Zawahiri was killed, they added.
President Biden said he had given the final approval for the "precision strike" on the 71-year-old al-Qaeda leader after months of planning.
"His killing will bring closure to families of the nearly 3,000 victims of the 2001 attacks," Biden added.
"No matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out," said Biden, adding that "we shall never waver from defending our nation and its people".
Biden said Zawahiri had also masterminded other acts of violence, including the suicide bombing of the USS Cole naval destroyer in Aden in October 2000 which killed 17 US sailors, and the 1998 attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
He insisted that Afghanistan would never again become a safe haven for terrorists.
The killing of Zawahiri comes nearly a year after US troops completed their withdrawal from Afghanistan on the orders of Biden, bringing an end to a 20-year military presence there.
Under a 2020 peace deal with the US, the Taliban agreed not to allow al-Qaeda or any other extremist group to operate in areas under their control.
In Kenya, al-Shabaab terrorists have been attacking places near the Kenya-Somalia border, especially in Mandera and Garissa counties after breaching security zones, which left dozens of civilians and security officials dead and wounded.
The terrorists have been planting explosives on the routes used by the security agencies.
Kenyan troops are in Somalia to pursue and suppress the activities of the terror group.
The latest such incident happened on August 1, when a gang attacked Elram Anti-Stock Theft Unit Camp leaving three police officers with injuries.
It was the second such attack on the camp in a week. A similar attack happened on July 25, 2022, and the attackers were repulsed.