Iran has categorically dismissed a US media report that one of the top leaders of the al-Qaeda terrorist group had been secretly killed by Washington-directed Israeli agents in the capital, Tehran.
Citing unnamed intelligence officials, The New York Times claimed on Friday that Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, the al-Qaeda’s second-in-command who went by the nom de guerre Abu Muhammad al-Masri, had been gunned down by two armed assassins on a motorcycle in the streets of Tehran in August.
The paper said al-Masri, who was charged with helping to mastermind the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Africa, had been killed in Iran by Israeli operatives acting at the behest of the United States.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Saturday that the Times’ report was based on “false information,” vehemently rejecting the presence of any of the terrorist group’s members in the country.
Underlining that the al-Qaeda has been the brainchild of the United States and its allies’ wrong policies, Khatibzadeh said, “From time to time, Iran’s foes — the United States and Israel — try to shirk responsibility for the criminal acts of al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups in the region and link Iran to such outfits by lying and leaking false information to the media.”
Advising the American media not to fall into the trap of what he referred to as Hollywood scenarios of American and the Zionist regime’s officials, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said such accusations are undoubtedly made in the context of an all-out economic, intelligence and psychological warfare against the Iranian people, and that the media should not be a platform for spreading agenda-driven White House lies against Tehran.
“Although the United States has in the past spared no effort to level false accusations against the Islamic Republic of Iran, this approach has become a routine in the current US administration and the White House has tried to take further steps to implement its scare-mongering tactic against Iran by repeating such accusations,” Khatibzadeh noted.
According to the Times, al-Masri, who was on the FBI’s list of most wanted terrorists, was killed on August 7 along with his daughter, Miriam, the widow of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza bin Laden.
A highly classified document provided by the US National Counterterrorism Center in 2008 described 58-year-old al-Masri as the “most experienced and capable operational planner.”
US federal authorities had offered a $10 million reward for any information leading to the senior leader’s capture.
The bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 claimed the lives of at least 224 people and left more than 5,000 injured.
Al-Masri was indicted by a US federal grand jury later that year for his role.