Iran denies Israel killed top al-Qaeda leader in Tehran

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Foreign Ministry says al-Qaeda has no presence in Iran. Iran on Saturday denied a New York Times report that al-Qaeda’s second-in command was killed on the Iranian soil by Israeli agents.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh described the report as “false”, saying the terrorist group has no presence in Iran.

“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,” he said.

The New York Times reported Friday that al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, known as Abu Muhammad al-Masri, was killed in a posh area of Tehran in August by Israeli agents at the behest of the US.

According to the US newspaper, al-Masri was one of the masterminds of the bombing of US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998.

Khatibzadeh said the media report was part of a “comprehensive economic, intelligence and psychological war against the Iranian people” and aimed to “show some association between the terrorist group and Iran”.

In June last year, US administration officials spoke of “alarming ties” between Iran and al-Qaeda during briefings to US Congress.

Iranian officials have maintained that the terrorist group has no presence on the Iranian soil and have termed the allegations “an attempt to build a case for war against Iran”.