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A top Al Qaeda leader on FBI’s most-wanted list killed in Afghan operation

An Afghan National Army Commando squad conducts live fire exercises during training at Camp Pamir, Kunduz province, Afghanistan, Feb. 13, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sean Carnes)
October 25, 2020

Afghan security forces on Saturday killed Abu Muhsin al-Masri, a senior Al Qaeda leader in Afghanistan, who was on the FBI’s most-wanted terrorist list.

Chris Miller, the director of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, confirmed the successful strike against al-Masri, in a statement provided to American Military News. Miller said, “The removal of Al-Qaeda Senior Leader Abu Mushin al-Masri from the battlefield is a major setback to a terrorist organization that is consistently experiencing strategic losses facilitated by the United States and its partners.  America and the National Counterterrorism Center continue to be laser focused on the defeat of Al Qaeda and today’s development highlights the diminishing effectiveness of the terrorist organization.”

Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security intelligence (NDS) announced al-Masri’s death in a tweet Saturday. NDS Afghanistan tweeted, “Breaking news : as a result of NDS special force unit operation in ghazni province an al-Qaida key member for Indian sub contanint, Abu Muhsen Almisry were killed.”

Reuters reported Afghanistan’s NDS believe Almasry was Al Qaeda’s second-in-command.

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NDS Afghanistan on Sunday tweeted a photo purporting to show al-Masri’s body after the mission carried out by Afghan security forces. NDS Afghanistan said, “Husam Abd-al-Rauf aka Abu Mohsin al-Masri, a senior AQ leader, was killed in an #NDS operation in #Ghazni where he’d been living under TB protection. He was close to Al-Zawhiri & supported HQN & TB for years. The intel on him suggests he was fully aware of 9/11 attacks in the US.”

Al-Zawhiri appears to refer to Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri, the leader of Al Qaeda since Osama Bin Laden was killed in 2011. TB appears to refer to the Taliban and HQN appears to refer to the Haqanni Network, an offshoot of the Taliban.

Al-Masri, also known as Husam Abd al-Rauf, remains on the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list, and the FBI has not responded to Reuters’ request for comment.

NDS Afghanistan on Sunday tweeted, “#NDS also lost a brave soldier in the operation on Abd-al-Rauf. May his soul rest peacefully in Janna! He will be always remembered. He bravely fought the evil who was responsible for taking so many innocent lives while TB provided the evil with protection and sanctuary.”