ISRAELI SPIES KILLED AL QAEDA’S NO. 2 IN IRAN; TEHRAN DENIES CLAIM
Al Qaeda’s second-in-command, accused of helping to mastermind the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Africa, was killed in Iran in August by Israeli operatives acting at the behest of the US, the New York Times reported, citing intelligence officials.
Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, who went by the nom de guerre Abu Muhammad al-Masri, was gunned down by two men on a motorcycle in the streets of Tehran on Aug. 7, the Times reported. The killing of Masri, who was seen as a likely successor to al Qaeda’s current leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was kept secret until now, the newspaper said. Masri, one of al Qaeda’s founding leaders, was killed along with his daughter, the widow of former al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden’s son, Hamza bin Laden, the Times reported.
It was unclear what, if any, role the US had in the killing of the Egyptian-born militant, the Times said. US authorities had been tracking Masri and other al Qaeda operatives in Iran for years, it said. Iran on Saturday denied the report, saying there were no al Qaeda “terrorists” on its soil. Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a statement that the US and Israel sometimes “try to tie Iran to such groups by lying and leaking false information to the media in order to avoid responsibility for the criminal activities of this group and other terrorist groups in the region.”
The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump’s “scare-mongering tactic against Iran has become routine,” Khatibzadeh said. Shi’ite Iran and al Qaeda, a Sunni Muslim militant organization, have long been enemies.