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U.S. identifies additional al Qaeda leaders in Iran


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Long War Journal

Thomas Joscelyn

January 12, 2021

The U.S. State Department today revealed additional details concerning the senior al Qaeda leaders operating inside Iran. Five al Qaeda figures have been added to the U.S. government’s list of specially designated global terrorists. The most noteworthy of them is Muhammad Abbatay, more commonly known as ‘Abd al Rahman al Maghrebi.

Maghrebi, a native Moroccan, is the son-in-law al Qaeda’s global leader, Ayman al Zawahiri. Born on July 1, 1970, Maghrebi has served in a number of senior roles. The State Department describes him as the “longtime director” of As Sahab, al-Qaeda’s central media arm, as well as the “head” of the group’s “External Communications Office.” In that latter job, Maghrebi “coordinates activities with” al Qaeda’s “affiliates.” Maghrebi has also been al Qaeda’s “general manager in Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2012.”

In conjunction with today’s designation, a reward of up to $7 million for information on Maghrebi’s whereabouts was announced by the State Department’s Rewards for Justice program.

Pointing to files recovered during the May 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, the State Department says that Maghrebi has been a “rising star” within al Qaeda “for many years.”


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