Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90
Photo of Al Qaeda founder and former leader, Osama Bin Laden, seen above a Palestinian Authority flag in Gaza.

The Number 2 leader of the global Al Qaeda terror organization was assassinated three months ago on the streets of Tehran three months ago, according to The New York Times, which reported the attack was carried out by Israeli agents at the request of the United States.

Four US intelligence officials confirmed that Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah (nom de guerre Abu Muhammad al-Masri) and his daughter, widow of Hamza bin Laden (son of Osama bin Laden) were both killed by two gunmen in a drive-by shooting.

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The assassination took place August 7, the anniversary of the 1998 attacks on the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Those attacks left 224 people dead and hundreds more wounded. The intelligence officials told The New York Times the US had been tracking the movements of al-Masri and other Al Qaeda operatives in Iran for years.

Al-Masri, 58, long on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List, was together with Osama bin Laden one of the founding leaders of Al Qaeda. He was also believed to have been first in line to follow its current chief, Ayman al-Zawahri as head of the terrorist organization.

It is not clear why Iran has not revealed the killing, nor has Al Qaeda, and no nation has publicly claimed responsibility for the achievement. But it is also possible that Iran was simply embarrassed: apparently al-Masri was living freely in an upscale suburb of Tehran since at least 2015, and according to the US intelligence officials, had been in Iran since 2003.

Five bullets fired from a gun with a silencer at a man driving a white Renault L90 sedan resulted in the death of two victims, reported by Iranian media – and Lebanese media — as Lebanese history professor Habib Daoud and his daughter, 27-year-old Maryam. The “professor” was reported to be a member of Hezbollah. But investigative journalists The New York Times was unable to uncover any evidence of either identity despite extensive searches for both.

Nevertheless, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh denied the presence of Al Qaeda members in Iran after the article was published in The New York Times.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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