Al-Qaeda’s second in command, accused of masterminding the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, was gunned down in the streets of Tehran by Israeli intelligence agents, reports the New York Times.
Abu Muhammad al-Masri was killed by two men on motorcycles in Tehran on August 7. It is believed Israel acted at the behest of the United States, which had been tracking al-Masri and other al-Qaeda “prisoners” living in Iran for years.
Much was made of Tehran’s “cooperation” in holding al-Qaeda operatives under “house arrest” by Iran’s apologists on the American left. In truth, Iran was giving them safe haven, allowing them to plot attacks on the U.S. while living in luxury. Al-Masri was said to have been living in an “upscale neighborhood” of Tehran with his daughter, widow of the son of Osama bin Laden. She died with her father on the streets of Tehran.
It was unclear what, if any, role the United States had in the 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.
Al Qaeda has not announced his death, Iranian officials have covered it up and no government has publicly claimed responsibility, the Times said.
A U.S. official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, declined to confirm any details of 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.
A parting “F-You” from Donald Trump to the Iranian leadership? If so, an especially satisfying au revoir. We’ve been told for decades that Iran and al-Qaeda are bitter enemies and that the U.S. lost a fabulous opportunity after 9/11 to make an alliance with Iran against the terrorists. Instead, Bush “alienated” the mullahs and the chance was lost.
That narrative still has life on the left. In fact, Iran probably had no advance knowledge of the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States. But they knew who carried them out and gave shelter and protection to the perpetrators. Iran and AQ may hate each other, but when it comes to killing Americans, they are in perfect agreement.
U.S. counterterrorism officials believe Iran, also a U.S. enemy, may have let them live there to conduct operations against U.S. targets, the Times said.
It was not immediately known what, if any, impact Masri’s death has had on al Qaeda’s activities. Even as it has lost senior leaders in the nearly two decades since the attacks on New York and Washington, it has maintained active affiliates from the Middle East to Afghanistan to West Africa.
AQ has proved to be remarkably resilient. Its affiliate in Yemen has been successful in setting up operations in West Africa. The North African branch of the group threatens Tunisia and other U.S. allies. It is truly “The Long War” and will be fought until Al-Qaeda and those it inspired disappear from the earth.
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