Al-Qaeda number two 'secretly killed in Iran'

Al-Qaeda number two 'secretly killed in Iran'

Tehran denies report that Israeli agents carried out operation at US request

Abu Muhammad al-Masri was indicted by the US for the 1998 bombings that killed 224 people at its embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. (AFP File Photo)
Abu Muhammad al-Masri was indicted by the US for the 1998 bombings that killed 224 people at its embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. (AFP File Photo)

Al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, indicted in the United States for the 1998 bombings of its embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, was secretly killed in Iran in August, The New York Times reported on Friday.

Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, who was on the FBI’s list of most wanted terrorists, was shot and killed in Tehran by two Israeli operatives on a motorcycle at the behest of the United States, the newspaper said, citing confirmation from unnamed intelligence officials.

The attack, which took place on Aug 7 on the anniversary of the Africa bombings, has not been publicly acknowledged by the US, Iran, Israel or al-Qaeda.

Iran on Saturday denied the report, saying there were no al-Qaeda “terrorists” on Iranian soil.

“From time to time, Washington and Tel Aviv 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 Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued in Tehran.

The senior Qaeda leader, who went by the nom de guerre Abu Muhammad al-Masri, was killed along with his daughter, Miriam, the widow of Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza bin Laden, the Times said.

US authorities had offered a $10-million reward for any information leading to his capture.

Abdullah was the “most experienced and capable operational planner not in US or allied custody”, according to a highly classified document provided by the US National Counterterrorism Center in 2008, according to the Times.

The bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 left 224 people dead and more than 5,000 injured.

Abdullah was indicted by a US federal grand jury later that year for his role.


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