Iranian authorities have denied reports that Israeli agents operating in the country shot and killed an Al-Qaeda leader and Osama bin Laden’s daughter-in-law in an assassination in August.
It follows reporting from the New York Times, contradicting the official Iranian account at the time, which is that a Lebanese professor and member of Hezbollah was killed with his daughter. The Times said the professor did not exist.
As the news broke, more details emerged of the Israeli agents’ killing of Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, also known as Abu Muhammed al-Masri, and his daughter Miriam, the widow of bin Laden’s son Hamza.
The FBI said al-Masri was behind the twin bombing in 1998 of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224 people. Before he was killed on 7 August, he was al-Qaeda’s second in command.
Israeli operatives in Iran are believed to have hit al-Masri while he was driving through the plush Pasdaran district of Tehran. Two men on a motorbike pulled up next to his car and fired five shots inside before driving off.
Iran denied the story, saying it resembled “a Hollywood script”, but the Times said Habib Daoud, the Lebanese history professor that Iranian authorities had said was targeted instead, did not in fact exist.
Israel’s Channel 12 reported that al-Masri was planning attacks against Israelis and Jews around the world, and that his daughter Miriam was being primed for a leadership role in the terror group.
UK-Israel think-tank BICOM said the news was “deeply embarrassing for Iran, caught protecting a Sunni jihadist leader, a sworn enemy, while fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria”.
It added that the attack “represents another failure of the Iranian security apparatus and an impressive intelligence and operational success for Israel and the US”.
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