Aug. 5 – Concerns that a top contender to lead Al-Qaeda has been sheltering in Iran were raised by security experts this week, following the assassination by the US of Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri on July 31.
Saif al-Adel — a former Egyptian colonel, senior member of Al-Qaeda and one of several potential successors to al-Zawahiri — has been reportedly spotted in Iran, but may have since moved to Syria after being released from an Iranian jail in 2015 in a prisoner exchange with Al Qaeda in Yemen.
Tehran’s Shia rulers officially oppose the Sunni Al-Qaeda movement but routinely collaborate with the group over common interests.
Video footage appearing to show Iranian agents following Israelis around an airport in Istanbul last month was shared online, as tensions between Tehran and Jerusalem continued to rise.
Tehran threatened to target Israelis travelling to Turkey in response to the suspicious deaths of several high profile Iranians connected to the government. Turkish authorities said the number of Iranians entering the country using forged passports and engaging in unusual activity had risen sharply.
Turkish police said they had already foiled two attempts to target Israelis in Istanbul. Several of the men detained in connection with the crimes were carrying guns, ammunition and silencers.
And Amnesty International called on the international community to hold Tehran accountable for a violent crackdown on protesters by security forces in south-west Iran in May which left four people dead, and several injured including children.
The human rights watchdog also said that the use of birdshot fired into the crowds was unlawful and amounted to torture. Amnesty added that footage it reviewed confirmed spray pattern wounds associated with birdshot could be seen on the backs, legs and heads of those injured.
Amnesty said the Iranian government’s excessive use of its military during peaceful protests showed an “utter disregard to the sanctity of human life and international legal standards on the use of force.”