Abdullah is an al-Qa’ida senior leader and a member of al-Qa’ida’s leadership council, the “majlis al-shura.” Abdullah is an experienced financial officer, facilitator, and operational planner for al-Qa’ida.
Abdullah was indicted and charged by a federal grand jury in November 1998 for his role in the August 7, 1998, bombings of the U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya. The attacks killed 224 civilians and wounded more than 5,000 others.
In the 1990’s, Abdullah provided military training to al-Qa’ida operatives as well as Somali tribesmen who fought against U.S. forces in Mogadishu during Operation Restore Hope. From 1996-1998, he operated multiple al-Qa’ida training camps in Afghanistan.
After the embassy bombings, Abdullah moved to Iran under the protection of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). In 2003 Iranian authorities placed him and other al-Qa’ida leaders under house arrest. In September 2015, Abdullah and other senior al-Qa’ida leaders were released from Iranian custody in exchange for an Iranian diplomat kidnapped by al-Qa’ida in Yemen.