Udayavni Special

Who was Muhammad al-Masri, what was his role in al-Qaeda?


Team Udayavani, Nov 17, 2020, 3:06 PM IST

The United States and Israel worked together to track and kill a senior Al-Qaeda operative in Iran earlier this year

Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, whose nom de guerre was Abu Muhammad al-Masri, was killed along with his daughter, Mariam, as they were driving in an upscale Tehran neighbourhood.

He was an Egyptian founding member of al-Qaeda, regarded by counter-terrorism experts as the next in line to succeed Ayman al-Zawahiri as the leader of the Islamist terror group. His daughter, Mariam was the widow of Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza. He was killed last year in a US counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

According to CNN, he was widely thought to have been the brains behind the attacks on the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam on August 7, 1998 — 22 years to the day before the shooting in Tehran.

Al-Masri was a “charter” member of al Qaeda, according to documents recovered from Afghanistan by US investigators in 2001. He was prominent on the council’s military committee, meaning he was consulted on all planned attacks

Al-Masri’s death is a blow to al-Qaida, the terror network that orchestrated the 11 September 2001, attacks in the US, and comes amid rumours in the Middle East about the fate of the group’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

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