Abu Muhammad al-Masri Wiki – Abu Muhammad al-Masri Biography
According to the New York Times, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, known as Abu Muhammad al-Masri, was shot and killed in Tehran on 7 August by Israeli agents working on the orders of US officials.
Al-Qaeda’s second-in-command was allegedly shot and killed in Iran in August with his daughter, 22 years after he planned devastating attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 and injured thousands.
Abu Muhammad al-Masri Age
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Abu Muhammad al-Masri shot dead by Israeli agents on Iranian street
Still, on Friday, he was listed on the F.B.I.’s list of the most wanted terrorists with a $ 10 million reward per head, because, despite rumors, neither the US, Iran, nor Israel made their death public.
It is not yet clear what role the United States played in its death, but it has been known for years to follow the movements of Iran and other al-Qaeda leaders in Iran.
The Times said his death has remained a secret until now.
In fact, in the news of the shooting in Iran’s official news media, the victims were named Habib Daoud, a Lebanese history professor, and his 27-year-old daughter, Maryam.
The Times reported that Daoud was absent and was a pseudonym used by Iranian intelligence officials who wanted to cover up the fact that the anti-state al-Qaeda leader was hosted in the country.
Al-Masri, 58, reportedly drove the white Renault L90 sedan around 9:00 pm on August 7, and two gunmen approached the car and fired five shots with a silencer gun.
The Times reported that four of the bullets entered the car and killed Miryam, the widow of al-Masri and Osama bin Laden’s son, Hamza bin Laden.
No country took the responsibility and al-Qaeda did not announce that he was dead.
El Masri was considered the first to take over Al Qaeda after its current leader, Ayman al-Zawahri. It ranked seventh among the organization’s 170 founders.
The terrorist leader was charged in the US for the bombing of African embassies in the 90s and has long been on the F.B.I.’s most wanted list.
He also allegedly ordered an attack in Mombasa, Kenya, in 2002 that killed 13 Kenyan and three Israeli tourists.
In 2008, the US National Counterterrorism Center described him as ‘the most experienced and skilled operations planner not under US or allied oversight’ and ‘former head of training’.
Al-Masri has long been a member of al-Qaeda’s highly secret management council and fled to Iran following the organization’s 9/11 attack.
“They believed that the United States would have a very hard time acting against them there,” said Yoram Schweitzer, head of the Terrorism Project at the National Security Research Institute in Tel Aviv.
‘Also because they believe the Iranian regime’s chances of making an exchange deal with the Americans involving their heads are very slim.’
It is one of the few high-ranking members of the organization that survived the US prey following the 9/11 attack, but was detained in Iran in 2003.
Still, after being released on a deal, he had lived in Tehran’s upscale Pasdaran district since at least 2015, according to the Times. The deal led to the release of five al-Qaeda leaders in exchange for an Iranian diplomat kidnapped in Yemen.
While being watched by Iranian intelligence, it is surprising that El Masri was allowed to stay in the country and travel so freely to countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria.
Al Qaeda, a Sunni Muslim jihadist group, is the enemy of the Shiite Muslim theocracy of Iran.
It may have nurtured why Iran was making great efforts to cover up the killing under the pseudonym Daoud.
Social media accounts affiliated with the Lebanese news channel MTV and the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards reported that ‘Daoud’ is a member of the Iranian-backed militant organization Hezbollah in Lebanon.
This has sparked speculation that the assassination might be a Western tactic that sparked Iran’s ire, the week before the United Nations Security Council’s vote to extend the country’s arms embargo in the summer.
The history professor, who is a member of Hezbollah, would have accorded with the assassination by Israeli gunmen.
While Israel deliberately avoids killing Hezbollah members in order not to incite violence, the group is actively fighting against Israel.
Yet it turned out that Daoud doesn’t exist, The Times says. There were no reports of Lebanese deaths and no record of being a professor.
An intelligence official told the newspaper that Nabil Naeem, the former leader of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, who is a longtime friend of al-Masri and the terrorist leader, said it was also a cover for the Saudi news channel Al Arabiya.
It is not fully understood why al-Masri was allowed to live in Iran after his release, but some experts told the Times that this might be due to insurance, so the group would not organize within Iran.
However, US sources said it might be working together to operate against their common adversary, the United States.
Colin P., an anti-terrorism analyst at the Soufan Center.
The Iranian government denied that al-Qaeda leaders continued to live in the country with Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bahram Ghasemi in 2018 and claimed that if they crossed the border from Afghanistan, they were captured and returned to their country.
Still, Western intelligence officials believe a few residents have resided in the country, following agreements such as the agreement that led to Masri’s freedom in 2015.
While in Iran, it is believed that al-Masri mentored Hamza bin Laden, who would later marry his daughter.
Another of her daughter married Abu al-Hayr al-Masri, a board member of the organization.
Hamza bin Laden and Abu al-Khayr al-Masri were killed by the United States.
In his youth, El-Masri was a professional footballer in Egypt before joining the jihadist movement after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.
When the Soviets retreated ten years later, Egypt did not allow him to return, and so El Masri remained in Afghanistan, where he joined Bin Laden and was one of the key members in the founding of Al Qaeda.
From the early 90’s, his efforts focused on operations in African countries, including Somalia, where he trained Somali guerrillas to use shoulder-mounted rocket launchers against helicopters.
They used this training to shoot down a pair of American helicopters during the 1993 Mogadishu war, in what is now known as the Black Hawk Down attack.
“When al-Qaeda began conducting terrorist activities in the late 1990s, Al-Masri was one of Bin Laden’s three closest aides and served as head of the organization’s operations department,” says Schweitzer.
“It brought with it know-how and determination, and since then Africa has been predominantly involved in most of the organization’s operations.”
Shortly thereafter, al-Masri was held responsible for the embassy attacks he launched on 7 August 1998 in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Although he was one of the nine members of al-Qaeda’s administrative council and headed the organization’s military training since 2000, he continued to oversee African operations.