Abu Khayr al-Masri

Ahmad Hasan Abu al-Khayr al-Masri
Born Abdullah Muhammad Rajab Abd al-Rahman
(1957-11-03) 3 November 1957
Kafr el-Sheikh, Egypt
Nationality Egyptian
Occupation Deputy leader of al-Qaeda

Abdullah Muhammad Rajab Abd al-Rahman, known as Ahmad Hasan Abu al-Khayr al-Masri, (born 3 November 1957, Kafr el-Sheikh, Egypt) is an Egyptian al-Qaeda leader who has been described as the general deputy to Ayman al-Zawahiri.[1][2] [3][1]


He was a member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and fled the country in the mid 1980s along with many other Islamic militants. In the mid 90s, he fought with Arab volunteers in the Balkans during the Bosnian War. He was sentenced in Egypt in 1998 to death in absentia in the case of the Returnees from Albania for allegedly being responsible of a series of terror attacks in Egyptian towns during the 1990s.

He has headed al-Qaeda's political committee and has been a member of the Shura Council. He has been described as operating as a "trusted lieutenant" of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda. He is an explosives expert and it has been alleged he was involved in the 1998 United States embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. He is allegedly married to a daughter of Osama bin Laden. [4]

Arrested in Iran

He left Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks and prior to the United States invasion of Afghanistan. He fled to Iran, where he was arrested in Sistan and Baluchestan Province in April 2003.[5] Also arrested alongside him were other senior al-Qaeda leaders including Sayf al-Adl, Abu Mohammed al-Masri and Sulayman Abu Ghayth. According to a statement that Sulayman Abu Ghayth gave to the Federal Bureau of Investigation four al-Qaeda leaders were first jailed in an Iranian intelligence building in Tehran for approximately one year and eight months.[6]

Release by Iran

In September 2015 it was reported that Abu Khayr al-Masri was released by Iran in March 2015 together with other al-Qaeda leaders including Saif al-Adel and Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah.[7]


On 28 July 2016, the Al-Minaret al-Bayda media wing of the Syrian al-Qaeda branch Jabhat al-Nusra released an audio message from him. This confirms rumors he had traveled to Syria after his release in Iran.


  1. 1 2 "Treasury Designates Seven Al Qaida Associates". Treasury.gov. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  2. Rohan Gunaratna and Aviv Oreg, The Global Jihad Movement (London 2015) p 72
  3. Rohan Gunaratna and Aviv Oreg, The Global Jihad Movement (London 2015) p 63
  4. "Osac Nefa 0513" (PDF). Wikileaks.org. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  5. "Al Qaeda's Organizational Structure and its Evolution | Aviv Oreg". Academia.edu. 1 January 1970. doi:10.1080/1057610X.2010.523860. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  6. Sulayman Abu Ghayth (1 March 2013). "File 415A-NY-307616" (PDF). Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  7. Rukmini Callimachi; Eric Schmitt (17 September 2015). "Iran Released Top Members of Al Qaeda in a Trade". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
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