Iran allows the leader of al-Qaeda to hide in its territory

Western intelligence sources claim that the new leader of al-Qaeda, Seif Aladl al-Masri is hiding in Iran and is protected by the Revolutionary Guards, Iran denies. Iran gives shelter to senior terrorists and the time has come for the western countries to impose additional sanctions on it, Israel is helping the US in capturing or killing them.

The name of the terrorist leader Seif Aladl al-Masri again made headlines in the world media following assessments by American intelligence that he is the one who actually fulfills the role of the leader of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda in the place of Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was killed by the Americans using a missile in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, in July 2022.

The CIA estimates that Seif Aladl al-Masri is the new leader of al-Qaeda and that he is hiding in the southeast of Iran under the auspices of the Revolutionary Guards, according to American officials.
Iranian Foreign Minister Amir Abdallahian denied the Americans’ claims.

The al-Qaeda organization remains silent, until today it has not confirmed that its leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was assassinated in Afghanistan for fear of the reaction of the Taliban organization that took over the country and it has never confirmed that a successor has been appointed.

Ned Price, a spokesman for the State Department, said on February 16 that the US assessment that Seif al-Adl al-Masri is in Iran is confirmed by a UN report that stated this.

According to him, this highlights Iran’s broad support for terrorism and its actions to destabilize the Middle East and beyond.

Who is Seif Aladl al-Masri?

He is a senior military operative in the al-Qaeda organization for whom the US has announced a $10 million bounty on his head because of his involvement in terrorist attacks.

His real name is Muhammad Salah al-Din Zidan, the meaning of the nickname in Arabic is Seif Al-adl means the sword of justice.

Seif Aladl is 62 years old, a former officer in Egypt’s special forces who was involved in the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981.

He started his career as the top security guard for the leader of the organization, Osama bin Laden, who was killed in Pakistan in 2011.

He is from the older generation in the organization and was also close to Ayman al-Zawahiri, over the years he established training camps for terrorists in Sudan, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In 1993 he was involved in the downing of an American military helicopter in Somalia in which 18 American soldiers were killed, in 1998 he was responsible for the two major attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in which 224 civilians were killed and another 5000 were injured.

He is known as a brutal man with the skills to organize large-scale attacks, which seems to be what al-Qaeda is now looking for to get back into Muslim public opinion after being sidelined by the Islamic State and the fact that its two leaders, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, were killed by the US.

Iranian patronage

Seif Al-Adl al-Masri is not the only senior member of the al-Qaeda organization who hid in Iran, in August 2020 the Israeli Mossad in Tehran, in accordance with the request of the US, assassinated Abdullah Ahmad Abdullah, known as Abu Muhammad al-Masri, who was number two in the al-Qaeda organization.
The fact that terrorists from the Al-Qaeda organization reside in Iran is not new, it is known to all American administrations since the late 1970s.

Iran served as a transit point for terrorists who came from Arab countries to Afghanistan to participate in the jihad against the Soviet military forces.

After the attacks on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, about 500 families of al-Qaeda operatives came to hide in Iran, including the family members of the then leader of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden.

The close relations of the Iranian authorities with the al-Qaeda organization are mainly with the Egyptian faction of the organization led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, to which Seif Aladl al-Masri also belonged, the interests are shared: joint action against the US and the avoidance of this faction from carrying out attacks against Iranian targets, despite that in the eyes of the Sunni al-Qaeda organization, the Shiite regime in Tehran is considered an infidel.

Iran’s relations with the second faction in the al-Qaeda organization associated with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, based on Jordanian and Iraqi activists, are not good, activists from this faction who live in Iran are subject to close supervision by the authorities.

During the operation to kill Osama bin Laden in his hiding place in Pakistan in 2011, documents were discovered that testify to the connection between Iran and the Al-Qaeda organization.

The US State Department published a report in June 2020 in which it claimed that Iran provides a safe haven for terrorists and allows al-Qaeda terrorists to move freely and transfer fighters and money to Iran’s neighboring countries.

Al-Qaeda terrorists residing in Iran use the Revolutionary Guards to obtain fake documents to hide their true identities.

The stay of Seif Aladl Al-Masri in Iran reinforces the American-Israeli narrative that Iran is a terrorist-supporting country that hides extremist Sunni Islamic terrorists on its territory who are responsible for the death of hundreds of people around the world and the injury of thousands over the years.

The Al-Qaeda organization is a common enemy of the US and Israel, the publication of the stay of Seif Aladl al-Masri in Iran gives additional legitimacy to the US and other Western countries to impose additional sanctions on Iran. This is a dangerous country that sponsors many terrorists.

Security officials in Israel estimate that the US asked Israel to cooperate with it in the hunt for Sif Aladl al-Masri, given the high intelligence capabilities of the Israeli Mossad on Iranian soil.

Yoni Ben Menachem Senior Middle East Analyst

About Yoni Ben Menachem

Yoni Ben Menachem is a Middle East senior analyst ,a journalist and
the former CEO of the Israel Broadcasting Authority(IBA). He has
decades of experience in written and video journalism. Ben
Menachem’s path in the media world began as a producer for
Japanese television in the Middle East. After that, he held many key
positions in the media The Israeli: CEO of the Israel Broadcasting
Authority, director of “Kol Israel” Radio, reporter on West Bank and
Gaza Strip affairs, political reporter and commentator, commentator
on Middle East affairs and editor-in-chief and presenter of the
program “Middle East Magazine”. 

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