A man and his daughter who were killed in Tehran over the summer were not Lebanese nationals as Iran’s Fars news agency reported at the time, according to the New York Times on Friday. In fact, the man was al-Qaeda’s Egyptian-born number two Abou Mohammed al-Masri, who was wanted by the US for his role in the bombing of multiple US embassies in Africa, according to the report which cited intelligence officials.
Al-Masri and his daughter, Miriam, were gunned down by Israeli operatives “at the behest of the United States,” the Times said.
Al-Masri, who the Times says was around 58-years-old, was one of al-Qaeda’s founders and the successor to the terrorist group’s current leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Miriam is reportedly the widow of Osama bin Laden’s 11th son, Hamza, who was his father’s heir in the terrorist group. US President Donald Trump announced the killing of Hamza in September 2019.
It is unclear why Iran was giving refuge to al-Masri, or why Iranian officials seemed to have covered up his death.
In the Times article, the intelligence officials said that he had been “living freely in the Pasdaran district of Tehran, an upscale suburb, since at least 2015.”
After the news was published in Iran and Lebanon that a Lebanese teacher and his daughter were found dead, he was identified as “Habib Daoud.” The New York Times says that name was his alias.
“American counterterrorism officials believe Iran may have allowed them to stay to run operations against the United States, a common adversary,” the Times said.
Iran’s foreign ministry on Saturday denied the New York Times report and said in a statement that there were no al-Qaeda “terrorists” on Iranian soil.
“From time to time, Washington and Tel Aviv try to tie Iran to such groups by lying and leaking false information to the media in order to avoid responsibility for the criminal activities of this group and other terrorist groups in the region,” the ministry said.