Israel sources reveal that Al Qaeda’s No. 2 leader, who was on the FBI’s most wanted list, was planning additional attacks.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
A top Al Qaeda leader assassinated by Israeli agents was planning attacks on Jews and Israelis around the world, Israel’s Channel 12 reported Saturday.
Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah was on the FBI’s most wanted list with a $10 million price tag on his head.
Abdullah was killed in a Tehran shooting on August 7. Iranian opposition reports claimed two gunmen on a motorcycle assassinated a Hezbollah operative Habib Daoud, 58, along with daughter Maryam, 27, were while they in their car in Iran’s capital city.
A New York Times report on Friday linked to U.S. intelligence sources said the killing of Abdullah, who the FBI said used the alias Abu Muhammad al-Masri, had been carried out by agents from Israel’s Mossad spy agency in collaboration with the United States. The Americans had been hunting the wanted terrorist for decades and the daughter was identified to be the widow of Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza.
“Abu Muhammad al-Masri also began planning terrorist attacks against Israelis and Jewish targets around the world, and thus the interests were united in one matter, both by the United States and by Israel,” Israeli security sources told Channel 12.
The August assassination was on the anniversary of the 1998 bombings of the United States Embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya that killed more than 200 people. Abdullah is believed to have been the mastermind behind the attacks.
Immediately after the assassination, the Iranians chose to remain silent and concocted a cover story that a “Lebanese professor” was killed due to his ties with the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group. However, that story was denied in Lebanon.
Apparently embarrassed by the details revealed by the Times report, the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Saturday published a denial saying “there are no al-Qaeda operatives in Iran.”
Neither Israel nor the United States has commented on the Times report that the Abdullah operation was a result of American-Israeli cooperation. The execution method was reminiscent of other assassinations of Iranians attributed to Israel by the regime in previous years.
On the one hand, al-Qaeda and Iran are significant enemies – one a Sunni terrorist organization and the other a Shiite state sponsor of terror. On the other hand, published reports over the years indicate that al-Qaeda members who fled Afghanistan, including senior officials, sought and received refuge in Iran.
Israeli counter-terror expert Assaf Moghadam called the Iran-al-Qaeda relationship “a marriage of convenience” in which Iran is al-Qaeda’s “main artery for funds, personnel, and communication.”
The assassination was apparently designed to continue the message sent to the Iranian leadership that began with the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in January.
“Those responsible for the major terrorist attacks against the U.S. and its friends in the region are not immune from harm and may find their deaths not only in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, but also in the heart of Tehran,” Channel 12 reported, quoting Israeli security sources.