NBC News reported in 2020 that Donald Trump had the chance to kill the leader of al- Qaeda but didn't because he didn't know his name.

President Joe Biden said on Monday that Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a US drone strike.

His death, which has been hailed by many world leaders, is the biggest blow to al-Qaeda since the death of Osama bin Laden.

Plans for al-Zawahiri's execution could have been carried out earlier according to an NBC News report.

According to NBC News, intelligence officials briefed Trump many times about the CIA's desire to kill al-Zawahiri.

Two people familiar with the briefings told NBC News that Trump chose not to pursue al-Zawahiri because he didn't know his name.

He said he had never heard of any of them. According to NBC News, an unnamed former official asked what about bin Laden.

The news outlet was told by a Pentagon official that he only knew that name.

Insider did not get a response from the Department of Defense or Trump's spokesman.

NBC News reported that Bin Laden's son was not thought to be planning any attacks at the time.

'The president's preference for a "celebrity" targeted killing'

In his presidency, Trump confirmed that the younger bin Laden had been killed.

The former CIA official Douglas London wrote in Just Security in 2020 that the president thought differently about the dangers posed by Zawahiri.

He said that Trump's obsession with bin Laden's son was an example of the president's preference for celebrity targeted killings.

In his address announcing al-Zawahiri's death, Biden said that after "relentlessly seeking Zawahiri for years under Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump, our intelligence community found Zawahiri earlier this year."

The mission was carefully planned, rigorously minimized the risk of harm to other civilians, and one week ago, after being advised that the conditions were optimal, I gave the final approval to go get him.

The September 11, 2001, attacks killed over 3000 people.