Israeli operatives killed al Qaeda’s No. 2 leader in Iran in August -New York Times
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Al Qaeda’s second-in-command, accused of helping to mastermind the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa, was killed in Iran in August by Israeli operatives acting at the behest of the United States, the New York Times reported on Friday, 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 Tehran more than three months ago, the Times reported.
The killing of Masri, who was seen as a likely successor to al Qaeda’s current leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, was kept secret until now, the newspaper said.
It was unclear what if any role the United States had in the Aug. 7 killing of the Egyptian-born militant, the Times said. U.S. authorities had been tracking Masri and other al Qaeda operatives in Iran for years, it said.
A U.S. official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, declined to confirm any of the details in the Times’ story or say whether there was any U.S. involvement. The White House National Security Council did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Masri was killed along with his daughter, the widow of Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza bin Laden, the Times reported.
Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, who orchestrated the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, was killed in a U.S. raid in Pakistan in 2011.
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