Muhammad al-Masri was accused of helping to mastermind the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Africa
Muhammad al-Masri was accused of helping to mastermind the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Africa
File Photo - FBI

Al-Qaida’s Abu Muhammad al-Masri, accused in US Embassy attacks, killed by Israeli operatives in Iran: Report

A top Al-Qaida terrorist, considered second-in-command in the leadership of the group, was killed in Iran three months ago, The New York Times has reported, citing intelligence sources. Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah aka Abu Muhammad al-Masri was accused of helping to mastermind the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Africa.

Abdullah's daughter Miriam, the widow of Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza bin Laden, was also killed in the attack carried out by two assassins on a motorcycle on August 7 on the streets of Tehran.

The report said that the attack was carried out by Israeli operatives working at the behest of the United States. It was unclear what, if any, role the United States had in the killing of Abdullah, who was seen as a likely successor to al Qaeda’s current leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri. US intelligence agencies had been tracking the movements of al-Masri and other al-Qaida operatives in Iran for years.

The killing of the Egyptian-born militant was kept secret until now, the Times said. While al-Qaida has not announced the death of one of its top leaders, Iranian officials also covered it up. No country has publicly claimed responsibility for the public killing of a top terrorist leader.

Al-Masri, 58, was one of al-Qaida’s founding leaders and was considered one of the top leaders of al-Qaida after the death of Osama bin Laden and was first in line to lead the organisation after al-Zawahri, the Times report said. He was also related to Laden through the marriage of his daughter to Hamza bin Laden who was killed by US agencies last year.

One of the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists with a bounty of $10 million, al-Masri had been indicted for his alleged involvement in the August 7, 1998, bombings of the US Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in which 224 people were killed and hundreds were injured.

His name still features on the FBI's Most Wanted list where he is wanted for the "murder of US nationals outside the United States, conspiracy to murder US nationals outside the United States, attack on a federal facility resulting in death, conspiracy to kill US nationals, to murder, to destroy buildings and property of the United States, and to destroy the National Defense Utilities of the United States."

FBI's Most Wanted
FBI's Most Wanted

Identified as an Egyptian citizen, FBI lists Abu Mohamed Al-Masri, Abu Muhammad al Masri, Saleh, Abu Mariam, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah Ali and Abu Mohammed his aliases.

Iran and al Qaeda, a Sunni Muslim militant organization, have long been enemies but Masri had been living freely in an upscale suburb of Tehran since 2015 despite being in “custody” since 2003.

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