. . World News – GB – Al Qaeda no. 2, accused in the U. s. Attacks on embassies, killed in secret in Iran

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Israeli agents shot Abu Muhammad al-Masri on the streets of Tehran, on the orders of the Israeli government. s. Officials said, but no one – Iran, Al Qaeda, the United States. s. Or Israel – she publicly admitted to the killing.

WASHINGTON – The second-highest al-Qaeda leader, accused of being one of the masterminds for the deadly 1998 attacks on US embassies in Africa, was killed in Iran three months ago, as intelligence officials confirmed.

Abdullah Ahmad Abdullah, alias Abu Muhammad al-Masri, was shot dead in the streets of Tehran by two assassins on a motorcycle in August. . 7, the anniversary of the embassy attacks. He was killed with his daughter, Maryam, the widow of Hamza bin Laden, the son of Osama bin Laden.

Four of the officials said that the attack was carried out by Israeli militants on the orders of the United States. It is unclear what role, if any, the United States, which was tracking the master’s movements, played. Al-Masry and other al-Qaeda activists have been in Iran for years.

The murder took place in such an underworld of geopolitical conspiracies and espionage to combat terrorism, to the point that Mr.. There were rumors of Al-Masry’s death, but they were not confirmed yet. For reasons that remain vague, Al Qaeda has not announced the killing of one of its top leaders, Iranian officials have kept it secret, and no country has publicly claimed responsibility for it.. .

Mr.. Al-Masry, 58, was one of the founding leaders of Al Qaeda and was believed to be the first to lead the organization after its current leader Ayman al-Zawahiri..

appeared long ago on F. B. I am. List of wanted terrorists. He has been accused in the United States of committing crimes related to the U bombings. s. The embassies of Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224 people and injuring hundreds. The F. B. I am. He was offered a $ 10 million reward for information leading to his arrest, and as of Friday, his photo was still on the most wanted list.

It was surprising that he lived in Iran, given that Iran and Al Qaeda are bitter enemies. Iran, a Shiite religious state, and Al Qaeda, a Sunni jihadist group, fighting each other on the battlefields of Iraq and elsewhere.

US intelligence officials say Mr.. Al-Masry has been in the « custody » of Iran since 2003, but he has been living freely in the Pasdaran district of Tehran, an upscale suburb, since at least 2015..

At around 9:00 on a warm summer night, he was driving his white Renault L90 with his daughter near his home when two gunmen on a motorcycle approached beside him. I fired five shots from a silencer pistol. Four bullets entered the car from the driver’s side, and the fifth hit a nearby car.

As news of the shooting spread, Iranian state media identified the two victims, Habib Daoud, a professor of Lebanese history, and his 27-year-old daughter, Maryam.. . Lebanon’s MTV news channel and IRGC social media accounts reported that Mr.. Daoud was a member of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The killing came amid repeated explosions in the summer in Iran, which led to an escalation of tensions with the United States, days after a massive explosion at the Beirut port and a week before the UN Security Council was considering extending the arms embargo on Iran.. . There was speculation that the killing may have been a Western provocation intended to provoke an Iranian backlash before the Security Council vote..

The targeted killing by gunmen on a motorcycle commensurate with the method of previous Israeli assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists.. . Israel’s killing of a Hezbollah official committed to fighting Israel appears logical as well, except for the fact that Israel was intentionally avoiding killing Hezbollah operatives in order not to provoke war.. .

Several Lebanese close to Iran said they had not heard of him or his killing. A research in the Lebanese media found no reports of the killing of a Lebanese history professor in Iran last summer. An educational researcher with access to lists of all the country’s history professors said that there is no record of Habib Daoud. .

An intelligence official said that Habib Daoud was a pseudonym that Iranian officials gave Al-Sayed. The Egyptian and the History Teaching Job was a cover story. In October, the former leader of the Islamic Jihad in Egypt, Nabil Naim, contacted al-Sayed. Al-Masry, an old friend, told the Saudi Arabia news channel the same.

Iran may have had good reason to want to hide the fact that it was harboring a declared enemy, but it was unclear why Iranian officials were taking on the al-Qaeda leader in the beginning.

Some terrorism experts have suggested that keeping al-Qaeda officials in Tehran may provide some insurance that the group will not conduct operations inside Iran. US counterterrorism officials believe that Iran may have allowed them to stay to conduct operations against the United States, which is a common adversary.

This will not be the first time that Iran has joined the Sunni militants, after it supported Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Taliban.

Colin B. said, « Iran uses sectarianism as a stick when it suits the regime, but it is also willing to overlook the Sunni-Shiite divide when it suits Iranian interests. ». . Clark is a counterterrorism analyst at the Soufan Center.

Iran has consistently denied harboring al-Qaeda officials. In 2018, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasimi said that due to Iran’s long and porous border with Afghanistan, some Al Qaeda members entered Iran, but were arrested and returned to their countries of origin.. .

However, Western intelligence officials said that al Qaeda leaders remained under house arrest by the Iranian government, which then concluded at least two deals with al Qaeda to free some of them in 2011 and 2015..

Although the rise of the Islamic State has overwhelmed Al Qaeda in recent years, it remains resilient and has active branches around the world. N. The July counterterrorism report ended.

Iranian officials did not respond to a request for comment for this article. Spokesmen for the Israeli prime minister’s office and the Trump administration’s National Security Council declined to comment.

Mr.. Al-Masry was a longtime member of the top-secret Al Qaeda board of directors, along with Saif al-Adel, who was also held in Iran at some point.. The two, along with Hamza bin Laden, who was being groomed to take over the leadership of the organization, were part of a group of senior Al Qaeda leaders who sought refuge in Iran after the 9/11 attacks on the United States that forced them to flee Afghanistan.. .

According to a top-secret document issued by U. s. National Center for Combating Terrorism in 2008, Mr.. Al-Masry was the « most experienced and capable operational planner outside the United States. ». s. Or the custody of allies. The document described him as a “former head of training” who “worked closely” with Mr.. Justice.

In Iran, Mr.. According to terrorism experts, Al-Masry directed Hamza bin Laden. Hamza bin Laden later married Mr.. Daughter of the Egyptian Miriam.

“The marriage of Hamza bin Laden was not the only bond that Abu Muhammad established in captivity,” ibid. . B. I am. Ali Soufan, the agent and al-Qaeda expert, wrote in a 2019 article for the West Point Counterterrorism Center.

Another for mr. Al-Masry’s daughters married Abu Al-Khair Al-Masry, with no relationship to a board member. . He was allowed to leave Iran in 2015 and was killed by an American soldier. s. Drone strike in Syria in 2017. At the time, he was the second base official after Mr.. Al-Zawahiri.

Iran released Hamza and other members of the bin Laden family in 2011 in exchange for an Iranian diplomat kidnapped in Pakistan. Last year, the White House said that Hamza bin Laden was killed in an anti-terror operation in the Afghanistan and Pakistan region. .

Abu Muhammad al-Masri was born in 1963 in the Gharbia governorate in northern Egypt. In his youth, according to sworn affidavits filed in lawsuits in the United States, he was a professional soccer player in the Egyptian Premier League.. . After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, he joined the jihadist movement that was united to help Afghan forces.

After the Soviets withdrew after 10 years, Egypt refused to allow the master. Egyptian to return. He remained in Afghanistan, where he eventually joined bin Laden in the group that would later become the founding core of Al Qaeda. . The group ranked it seventh out of its 170 founders.

In the early 1990s, he traveled with bin Laden to Khartoum, Sudan, where he began forming military cells. He also went to Somalia to help the militia loyal to the Somali warlord, Muhammad Farah Aideed. There he trained Somali fighters in the use of shoulder-fired missile launchers against helicopters, and the training they used in the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993 to shoot down two American helicopters in what is now known as the Black Hawk Down attack.. .

“When al-Qaeda began carrying out terrorist activities in the late 1990s, al-Masri was one of bin Laden’s closest associates, as he held the position of head of the organization’s operations division,” said Yoram Schweitzer, head of the terror department.. The Institute for National Security Studies project in Tel Aviv. “He brought with him the know-how and determination and has since been involved in a large portion of the organization’s operations, with a focus on Africa.

Shortly after the Battle of Mogadishu, bin Laden laid down the master. Al-Masry is responsible for planning operations against American targets in Africa. Planning a dramatic and ambitious operation that would, like the 9/11 attacks, attract international attention, they decided to attack two relatively well-defended targets in two separate countries simultaneously..

Shortly after 10:30. M. in August. On September 7, 1998, two trucks loaded with explosives stopped in front of the US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.. . The explosions burned people nearby, flew walls out of buildings and shattered glass around blocks.

In 2000, Mr.. Al-Masry became one of the nine members of Al-Qaeda’s board of directors and headed the group’s military training.

He also continued to oversee operations in Africa, according to a former Israeli intelligence official, and he ordered the attack in Mombasa, Kenya, in 2002, which killed 13 Kenyans and three Israeli tourists..

By 2003, Mr.. Al-Masry was among many al-Qaeda leaders who fled to Iran that, although hostile to the group, seemed out of reach of the Americans..

“They thought the United States would find it very difficult to act against them there,” Mr.. Schweitzer said. Also because they believed that the chances of the Iranian regime making a swap deal with the Americans that included their heads were very slim.

Mr.. Al-Masry was one of the few high-ranking members of the organization to survive the American hunt for the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks and other attacks. . When he and other leaders fled from al-Qaeda to Iran, they were initially placed under house arrest.

In 2015, Iran announced a deal with Al-Qaeda under which it released five leaders of the organization, including Al-Sayed. Al-Masry in exchange for an Iranian diplomat kidnapped in Yemen.

Mr.. Abdullah’s footprints faded, but according to an intelligence official, he continued to live in Tehran, under the protection of the Revolutionary Guards and later the Ministry of Intelligence and Security.. . He was permitted to travel abroad and made mainly to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria.

Some American analysts said that Mr.. The killing of al-Masry would sever the links between the last original al Qaeda leaders and the current generation of Islamist militants, who arose after bin Laden’s death in 2011..

Nicholas J said: « If this is true, then this cuts the links between the old al Qaeda and modern jihad. ». Rasmussen, former director of the National Counter-Terrorism Center. It only contributes to the fragmentation and decentralization of the Al Qaeda movement.

Report by Adam Goldman and Eric Schmidt in Washington, Farnaz Fasihy in New York and Ronen Bergman in Tel Aviv. . Howayda Saad contributed coverage to Beirut and Julian E.. Barnes from Washington.

Al-Qaeda, Iran, Abdullah Ahmad Abdullah, Israel, attack, 1998 US embassy bombings

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Ref: https://www.nytimes.com

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