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Israeli Agents Killed Al Qaeda No. 2 In Iran, NYT Reports

Al Qaeda’s second-in-command, who was accused of being one of the masterminds behind the deadly 1988 attacks on US embassies in Africa, was killed by Israeli agents in Iran in August at the behest of the US, the New York Times reported on Friday.

Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, who went by the alias Abu Muhammad al-Masri, was shot on the streets of Tehran on August 7, the anniversary of the embassy attacks. His daughter Maryam, the widow of Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza bin Laden, who was with him at the time, was also killed by the bullets.

Intelligence officials confirmed that the elimination was carried out by Israeli operatives on the request of the US but it is unclear what role, if any, the US had in the operation.

According to a report by Israel’s Channel 12 News on Motzei Shabbos, Al-Masri was planning attacks on Jewish and Israeli targets when he was killed and the gunmen who killed him were Mossad agents. However, Israel’s Channel 13 News reported that the gunmen were probably “foreign agents activated by Israel.”

According to The Times, the killing “occurred in such a netherworld of geopolitical intrigue and counterterrorism spycraft” that Al-Masri’s death has never been confirmed until now. For reasons that are still unclear, Al Qaeda never announced his death, Iran covered it up, and no one claimed responsibility for the death.

The Times quoted American intelligence officials as saying that Al-Masri had been in Iranian “custody” since 2003 but had been living freely in an upscale suburb of Tehran since at least 2015.

It is unknown why he was living in Iran, since Iran, a Shiite theocracy, and Al Qaeda, a Sunni jihadist group, are bitter rivals. According to The Times, some terrorism experts believe that Iran allowed Al-Qaeda officials, who were forced to flee Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks, to take refuge in the country to ensure the group wouldn’t carry out operations inside Iran. Iran may also have allowed them to stay in the country to plan operations against their common enemy – the United States.

“Iran uses sectarianism as a cudgel when it suits the regime, but is also willing to overlook the Sunni-Shia divide when it suits Iranian interests,” said Colin P. Clarke, a counterterrorism analyst at the Soufan Center.

Al-Masri, who was about 58 when he was killed, was one of the founding leaders of Al-Qaeda and has been on the F.B.I.’s Most Wanted Terrorist list for decades with an offer of $10 million for information related to his capture. He was indicted in the US for crimes related to the bombings of the US. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which left 224 dead and hundreds injured. He is also alleged to have masterminded a 2003 attack on an Israeli-owned hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, which killed 13, including three Israeli tourists, and injured 80.

A US Marine officer stands guard outside the American Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, after a huge explosion ripped apart the building on Aug. 7, 1998. (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)

“When Al Qaeda began to carry out terrorist activities in the late 1990s, al-Masri was one of the three of Bin Laden’s closest associates, serving as head of the organization’s operations section,” said Yoram Schweitzer, head of the Terrorism Project of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. “He brought with him know-how and determination and since then was involved in a large part of the organization’s operations, with an emphasis on Africa.”

The aftermath of the 2002 bombing of the ‘Paradise Hotel’ in Kenya (Photo: AP)

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

One Response

  1. His daughter Miriam, the widow of Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza bin Laden With such incredibly outstanding יחוס the apple fell so amazingly close to the tree.

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