Israeli agents in a secretive unit called Kidon reportedly killed Al-Qaeda’s 2nd in command in a daring attack inside Iran on August 7. Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, AKA Abu Muhammad al-Masri was shot to death in his car, along with his daughter Maryam who was the widow of Osama bin Laden’s son. He was wanted for the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. His death occurred on the anniversary of those bombings, August 7, 2020. His daughter was reportedly being groomed as a leader in the organization as well.
The hit came by two Israeli agents on motorcycles, according to news reports. The secretive unit they were with, Kidon, is a part of the Intelligence agency Mossad. No one is commenting on the assassination. The name Kidon essentially means “tip of the spear.”
Five shots were fired from a pistol fitted with a silencer. Four bullets entered his car through the driver’s side and a fifth hit a nearby vehicle. At the time, Iran’s official news media had identified the victims as Habib Daoud, a Lebanese history professor, and his 27-year-old daughter Maryam.
Officials said that Israeli agents shot Abu Muhammad al-Masri at the behest of the U.S. But no one — Iran, al-Qaeda, the U.S., or Israel — has publicly acknowledged the killing.
It is unclear what role, if any, was played by the United States, which had been tracking the movements of al-Masri and other al-Qaeda operatives in Iran for years.
Long featured on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist list, al-Masri had been indicted in the United States for crimes related to the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The FBI had offered a $10 million reward for information leading to his capture. As of Friday, his picture was still on the Most Wanted list.
It seems unusual for Iran to harbor a rival jihadist. Iran is Shi’ite, and al-Qaeda is Sunni, and they have bitterly fought each other in the past. Al-Masri reportedly was “in the custody” of Iran, but had free reign within the Pasdaran district of Tehran. Intelligence officials suspected that Iran had been harboring al-Qaeda operatives for some time. Some Western intelligence officials state that Iran has been keeping al-Qaeda leaders under house arrest, but made some deals to release a few of them in 2011 and 2015.
Mossad has been notorious for its ability to send Israeli agents behind enemy lines. This assassination comes as a blow to the al-Qaeda group, amid rumors about what’s happening to its leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri (Fox).
Featured photo: Screenshot of al-Masri and the Nairobi bombing via Metro UK
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