Images from the Kabul home where Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed over the weekend appear to suggest the U.S. used an R9X “ninja bomb” to carry out the “counterterrorism operation.”
Hellfire R9X missile, known as a “Ninja bomb” or “flying ginsu,” is uniquely designed without any explosive materials, but instead, turns into a “killing blender” just before it penetrates its target location. The missile extends six blades that shred the intended target while leaving much of the surrounding area unscathed, limiting civilian casualties during airstrikes.
The nickname, “flying ginsu,” is a reference to an old infomercial from the late 1970s for a knife that could cut through everything from tree branches to tomatoes, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The weapon was used to take out Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani in 2020, and Jamal al-Badawi in 2019, the WSJ noted.
Photographs taken in the aftermath of Sunday’s successful operation against Zawahiri suggest that the unique missile was used, once again. “The apparent lack of explosive damage may suggest the U.S. used an R9X ‘flying ginsu’ missile,” director of the Middle East Institute’s Syria program Charlies Listen wrote on Twitter.
This is reportedly an image from the scene of the strike, in #Kabul‘s Sherpur neighborhood.
The apparent lack of explosive damage may suggest the U.S. used an R9X ‘flying ginsu’ missile, which is inert & carries self-deploying blades to kill a target with no collateral damage. pic.twitter.com/LLI31wT3Oe
— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) August 1, 2022
Zawahiri was on the balcony when the Hellfire missiles struck shortly after sunrise Sunday, according to a senior official from the Biden administration. The home was reportedly owned by the Taliban’s de facto deputy leader, Sirajuddin Haqqani, whose son and son-in-law also died in the strike, Lister wrote in a later tweet. (RELATED: Putin Might Threaten Nukes, Chemical Attacks And More, US Says)
Residents near the Shirpur neighborhood in Kabul, where the house was located, reported hearing a blast so loud that “children ran away from the sound,” according to The Washington Post. Just a few blocks away from the target, residents said they were scared of the roar from the missile and felt the ground shaking, the outlet reported.
Two of the weapons were used Sunday and no civilian casualties were reported, according to Indian news agency NDTV. To date, the CIA and Pentagon have never acknowledged the use of the Hellfire R9X missile, the outlet noted.