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DNI Clapper: ‘Shotgun Marriage’ Between Iran and Al Qaeda

11:15 AM, Feb 17, 2012 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
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In September 2011, the State Department designated a Hamas operative who is linked to both Iran and al Qaeda. The terrorist, named Muhammad Hisham Muhammad Isma'il Abu Ghazala, “plays an integral role in Hamas,” and “has links to Iran, the world's leading State Sponsor of Terrorism, and al Qaeda.” Among other nefarious activities, Abu Ghazala has facilitated al Qaeda’s IED attacks inside Iraq.
 
In January 2009, the Treasury Department designated four other senior al Qaeda members who had received Iran’s assistance. They included Saad bin Laden, Osama’s son, who received safe haven inside Iran after 9/11 and was placed under a loose form of “house arrest” in 2003 after he was implicated in al Qaeda attacks in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. Saad and the other designated al Qaeda operatives were responsible for moving al Qaeda families, including some of Osama bin Laden’s and Ayman al Zawahiri’s closest relatives, to Iran after the 9/11 attacks. Saad subsequently left Iran for northern Pakistan, where he was reportedly killed in a U.S. drone strike.

Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation of Defense of Democracies

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