(November 17, 2020 / Israel Hayom) The New York Times report that Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency was behind the assassination in Tehran on Aug. 7 of Al-Qaeda’s No. 2 figure, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, was welcome news for the families of his victims.
More than 200 people, including 12 Americans, were killed in the terrorist attacks orchestrated by Abdullah, whose nom de guerre was Abu Muhammad al-Masri, in August 1998 near the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.
The most senior U.S. official to die in these double bombings was the U.S. Consul General in Nairobi, Julian Bartley Sr., who died with his son, Jay. His daughter, Edith Bartley, has become the spokeswoman for the families of the victims.
She spoke with Israel Hayom on Sunday.
Q: Do you think that Israel’s reported assassination serves as closure?
A: Our families are grateful that the second-highest ranked Al-Qaeda operative, accused of helping orchestrate the 1998 bombings on two American embassies in Africa, will no longer be able to carry out deadly terrorist attacks. This brings us one step closer to the justice we have sought for 22 years.
Q: What are your personal feelings in the wake of “The New York Times” report?
A: We are extremely thankful that it happened on the anniversary of the bombings. [They were] a crime against humanity. It is very special that our allies followed that terrorist.
Q: [Do you think] al-Masri’s assassination will hurt Al-Qaeda in the long run?
A: I do. He was a leader. It is symbolic that he no longer walks on earth. That person was responsible for big bombings. The world has now become safer.
Q: How do you explain the fact that a senior, Sunni Al-Qaeda member lived comfortably in the Shi’ite Iranian capital?
A: I think that our country will have to evaluate our actions with Iran. As a person that has a lot of love for Israel, our families are extremely thankful.
Q: Do you think Iran is financing Al-Qaeda?
A: Sure, It is possible. Iran doesn’t have friends in the world. We must make sure that they will stay alone. The next step in our mind about Iran is to create extra safety for Israel and Sudan and take care of our bilateral agreement with Sudan. Business with Sudan will hurt Iran, and Congress should understand it. Now we are calling on Congress to immediately approve the recently signed bilateral agreement between the United States and Sudan in which Sudan agreed to compensate victims of the 1998 embassy bombings. The deal will bring our families justice and help Sudan close this dark chapter in its history, making the U.S. and our regional allies, particularly Israel, safer.
Q: Finally, what is the message you want to convey to Jerusalem?
A: Todah rabah to Israel. It has a special place in my heart. I spent a large part of my childhood in Israel. The assassination increased my love for Israel even more. We want justice and make the world safer, and this is the reason why we are grateful.
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.
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