Afghanistan Rejects New York Times’ Claim about Assassination of Al-Qaeda No.2 Man in Iran

Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Mirwais Naab dismissed the recent report by New York Times newspaper that al-Qaeda’s No. 2 man has been assassinated in the Iranian capital, Tehran, stressing that notorious Abu Muhammad al-Masri had been killed in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province weeks earlier.

“Husam Abd-al-Ra’uf, nom de guerre Abu Muhammad al-Masri, the second man in al-Qaeda, has been killed by the special forces of Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) in Endar region in Ghazni province. This has been officially confirmed by the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” Mirwais told the Islamic republic news agency on Monday.

He denied western media speculations about the fate of the high-value terrorist leader, and assured that al-Masri was killed right on the spot in an operation by the Afghan special security forces in Ghazni province in October.

Mirwais further pointed out that al-Masri’s killing in Afghanistan indicates Kabul’s commitment to serious fight against terrorism.

New York Times had last week quoted what it called as intelligence officials as claiming that Al Qaeda’s second-highest leader, Abu Muhammad al-Masri, accused of being one of the masterminds of the deadly 1998 attacks on American embassies in Africa, was assassinated by Israeli operatives at the behest of the United States in Iran three months ago.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh categorically dismissed the claims on Saturday, stressing that no member of the terrorist group is present in Iran.

He advised the US media not to fall into the trap laid by the US and Israeli officials by creating Hollywood-like scenarios.

He reminded that al-Qaeda was the creature of the US and its allies’ wrong policies in the region, saying that Washington and Tel Aviv want to project the blame of the criminal acts of the group and other terrorist groups in the region on Iran.

“Although the US has not, from time to time, spared any effort to raise allegations against the Islamic Republic of Iran in the past too, this approach in the current US government has turned into a permanent trend and the White House has attempted to further promote its Iranophobia plots by repetition of such allegations,” Khatibzadeh said.

He added that such allegations are made within the framework of all-out economic, intelligence and psychological war against the Iranian people and the media should not give a ploy to the White House’s targeted lies against Iran.

Afghanistan’s intelligence service had declared on October 25 that Afghan security forces killed Abu Muhammad al-Masri, the senior al-Qaeda leader who was on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Most Wanted Terrorists list.

Al-Masri, an Egyptian national believed to be al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, was killed during a special operation in the central Ghazni province, Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) said in a tweet at the time.

The western media outlets, including the BBC, also reported the death of al-Masri based on the NDS statement on the same day, but nearly three weeks later on November 13, they released a completely different account based on the New York Times report to claim that the Al-Qaeda’s No 2 had been assassinated in Tehran in early August with no explanation about their October 25 story.

Early in August, reports said that a Lebanese man and his daughter were shot and killed in Northern Tehran by an unknown assailants.

The two were Habib Dawoud, 58 years old, and his daughter Maryam, 27.

A police source said at the time that the two were in a vehicle and were “shot four times from the driver’s side”.

The source said Dawoud was a history teacher.

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