WASHINGTON, Jan 12 (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday, without providing hard evidence, that al Qaeda had established a new home base in Iran.
The New York Times reported in November that al Qaeda’s Abu Muhammad al-Masri, accused of helping to mastermind the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa, was gunned down by Israeli operatives in Iran. Iran denied the report, saying there were no al Qaeda “terrorists” on its soil.
Pompeo told a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington that he was announcing publicly for the first time that al-Masri died on Aug. 7 last year.
Pompeo said his presence in Iran was no surprise, and added:
“Al-Masri’s presence inside Iran points to the reason that we’re here today … Al-Qaeda has a new home base: it is the Islamic Republic of Iran.” (Reporting by Arshad Mohammed, David Brunnstrom and Humeyra Pamuk)
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