Slumped in a white Renault was a middle-aged man and a youthful girl. Both had been lifeless. At least 4 pictures had been fired at them; one other had hit a passing automotive. The two assailants had been on a bike, based on Iranian information companies.
One witness advised an area journalist: “We were told there was a shooting. We went to the scene and saw they are shot dead. There were two of them.”
Within hours semi-official Iranian information companies had been reporting the murders of a Lebanese tutorial known as Habib Dawood with ties to the Lebanese group Hezbollah — and his daughter, Maryam. There was no clarification of the killings, and no arrests reported.
And there the story rested, till a flurry of exercise on obscure social media accounts in mid-October, claiming that the victims weren’t Lebanese, however quite one of the most necessary figures in al Qaeda — Abu Mohammed al-Masri — and his daughter, Miriam, the widow of Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza.
The authentic reviews in regards to the mysterious Dawood appeared suspect as a result of there was no file of a Lebanese tutorial by the title of Habib Dawood, nor anybody with an analogous spelling. Nor was there any eulogy in Lebanon — for both him or his daughter. And there was nothing in pro-Hezbollah media in Lebanon to confirm the identification of the victims.
In mid-October, a Twitter account known as “AnbaJassim” — purportedly belonging to a contract journalist in the United Arab Emirates posted a screed suggesting it was al-Masri and his daughter who had been killed.
AnbaJassim stated he had requested jihadi veterans of the Afghan wars, and “their response confirmed to me that those killed are Abu Muhammad al-Masri” and his 27-year outdated daughter.
Two weeks later an company known as Shamshad News, which describes itself as an Afghanistan-based radio and tv information outlet, additionally claimed that al-Masri had been killed in Tehran. But the Iranian authorities remained silent.
On Friday, a senior counterterrorism official advised CNN “that Abu Muhammad al-Masri is probably dead.”
The Israeli Prime Minister’s workplace has refused to touch upon the report. Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh stated in a press release that Washington and Tel Aviv “spread lies” to “portray Iran as associated with these terrorist groups.”
The “media must not be a tribune for spreading and broadcasting the intentional made-up lies uttered by the White House against Iran,” Khatibzadeh added.
An al Qaeda authentic
The loss of life of Al-Masri, whose actual title was Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, deprives al Qaeda of one of its greatest planners and most experienced operatives. A 57-year outdated Egyptian, he was broadly thought to have been the brains behind the assaults on the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam on August 7, 1998 — 22 years to the day earlier than the taking pictures in Tehran.
Al-Masri was a “charter” member of al Qaeda, based on paperwork recovered from Afghanistan by US investigators in 2001.
Along with others in al Qaeda’s hierarchy al-Masri had moved to Tehran after the 9/11 assaults and al Qaeda’s eviction from Afghanistan and spent a few years in jail or underneath underneath home arrest. In or round 2005, his daughter Mariam married Hamza bin Laden (they had been each youngsters on the time) in the Tehran compound the place the al Qaeda contingent had been detained. Footage of the occasion was later recovered in the Abbottabad compound the place Osama bin Laden was killed six years later by US forces and launched by the CIA in 2017.
According to Ali Soufan, a former FBI investigator into al Qaeda and an knowledgeable on the group, al-Masri rejected an Iranian proposal that he return to Egypt. And in 2015 he was launched from custody as half of a deal Iran made to win the liberty of an Iranian diplomat who’d been kidnapped by al Qaeda in Yemen.
The United States clearly thought of al-Masri a severe and persevering with risk, doubling the bounty for info on him and one other al Qaeda chief — Saif al-`Adl — from $5 million to $10 million in 2018.
Soufan wrote in the Combating Terrorism Center’s journal Sentinel final yr: “Throughout its existence, whenever al-Qa`ida has evolved, Abu Muhammad al-Masri has been at the forefront of the change. With al-Zawahiri reported to have a potentially serious heart complaint, the group may be on the verge of only the second transfer of leadership in its history.”
He advised CNN Saturday, “Al Qaeda have lost one of their founding fathers and their most experienced and capable operational planner.”
That he was killed on August 7, on the anniversary of the 1998 assaults, was “poetic justice,” Soufan stated.