The New York Times and other press outlets have confirmed that Abu Muhammad al-Masri, al Qaeda’s deputy emir, was killed in an Israeli operation in Tehran on Aug. 7. His death was originally reported on an al-Qaeda-linked social media account.
Abu Khallad al-Muhandis, an al Qaeda veteran, was reportedly killed in a mysterious explosion in Idlib, Syria earlier today. Muhandis’s jihadi career covered Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. He was also detained inside Iran for a time.
Al Qaeda Telegram channels have shared a statement attributed to Saif al-Adel. He writes that the jihadis modify their military program to take into account Turkey’s influence.
A report by the United Nations includes new details concerning the dispute between Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and al Qaeda’s senior leaders, including the role played by two veteran operatives living in Iran. The UN’s member states say that HTS is still in “contact” with al Qaeda’s leadership despite their heated disagreements, and that al Qaeda has even reinforced HTS with “military and explosives experts” sent from Afghanistan.
On Aug. 8, the State Department announced that it had increased its reward for information concerning the whereabouts of two veteran al Qaeda leaders: Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah and Saif al-Adel. Although State didn’t explain the move, there is evidence that the two al Qaeda managers were operating inside Iran as of 2017.
The State Department has amended the terrorist designation for Al Nusrah Front to include the “alias” Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS). State’s announcement indicates that the US government still considers HTS to be part of al Qaeda’s network, despite the jihadists’ vitriolic disputes over its formation. State didn’t explain its reasoning behind the move.
The US is seeking the extradition of Christian Ganczarski from France, where he has been imprisoned since 2003. A French court convicted Ganczarski on terror-related charges for his role in the Apr. 11, 2002 suicide bombing at a synagogue in Djerba, Tunisia. The bomber called Ganczarski beforehand to receive his “blessing.” A newly-released indictment focuses on Ganczarski’s other ties to al Qaeda, including a plot targeting American interests in Australia.
The jihad in Syria has unleashed another leadership crisis for al Qaeda.