The Iranian State Department on Saturday denied a report that Israeli agents fatally shot Al Qaeda’s second-rate leader on the streets of Tehran, comparing it to a “Hollywood” scenario made by “American and Zionist” officials.
The ministry issued the disapproval to Iranian reporters following a New York Times report on Friday quoting intelligence officials that Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, who walked from Nom de Guerre Abu Muhammad al-Masri, was killed by two motorcycles – mounted assassin on August 7th.
That day marked the anniversary of the 1998 attacks on American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, in which 224 people were killed. Mr. al-Masri was accused of being one of the masterminds behind the attacks.
The murder of Mr. al-Masri and his daughter was carried out by Israeli agents at the behest of the United States, the Times reported.
Saeed Khatibzadeh, a foreign ministry spokesman, denied the presence of al-Qaeda members in Iran. And he warned American media “not to fall into the trap of Hollywood scenarios fed them by American and Zionist officials,” according to the department’s website.
Mr al-Masri’s death was rumored but only confirmed in the Times report.
Mr. al-Masri, who was around 58 years old, was one of the founding leaders of Al Qaeda and should be the first to head the organization after its current leader, Ayman al-Zawahri. The FBI had offered a $ 10 million reward for information leading to his capture.
The presence of Mr. al-Masri in Iran was surprising as Iran and al-Qaeda are bitter enemies. American intelligence officials told The Times that Mr. al-Masri had been in Iranian “custody” since 2003 but had lived freely in an upscale suburb of Tehran since at least 2015.
In its statement on Saturday, the Iranian State Department accused the United States and Israel of providing false information to the news media “so that they would not have to take responsibility for the murderous actions of this terrorist group and other groups.”