A US-based think tank says al-Qaeda terrorist group’s second in command, who is set to become its new leader following the death of Ayman al-Zawahiri, is in Iran. 

Senior researcher of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies Behnam Ben Taleblu told Sky News on Tuesday that following the death of al-Zawahiri, “All eyes are on Iran’s eastern border.” “With the killing of al-Zawahiri, the next up – believed to be number two of al-Qaeda – is assumed to be in Iran.”

“So that may mean that the Iranian government – if that individual is still there – will have to decide what to do; to expel this person or to allegedly promote them or to basically facilitate the rise of Al-Qaeda’s next leader.

US President Joe Biden announced Monday, August 1, that al-Zawahiri had been killed in a US drone strike over the weekend after US intelligence officials tracked him to a house in downtown Kabul.

Earlier in the year, Tallha Abdulrazaq, an academic with expertise in Middle Eastern security affairs, said that Iran has provided shelter to numerous al-Qaeda operatives over the years. Bin Laden’s son Hamza is believed to be among those to have been harbored in Iran.

According to the 2019 US State Department’s terrorism report, Tehran allowed al-Qaeda to transfer money via Iran, as well as to transit personnel and resources across conflict zones such as Afghanistan and Syria.

In the past years, several US officials, including ex-CIA director Mike Pompeo, accused the Islamic Republic of having links with al-Qaeda, citing documents that were declassified. 

Senior al-Qaeda facilitator and financier Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil, also known as Yasin al-Suri, is also allegedly based in Iran.

Chand Chand
Human Stories
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