For many years it has been believed that Saif al-Adil has been located and likely protected in Iran.
Following 9/11 it is understood that many Al-Qaeda members and their families fled over the Afghan border in to Balochistan, assisted by criminal networks. The Iranian authorities initially deported some members but upon realizing the value of holding such hostages, moved to keep a closer eye and directly place in to custody senior AQ members. For Iran AQ is a rabid attack dog that can be released at any time to cause havoc on their true enemy of Saudi Arabia and the US. So in 2003 it is understood that Saif al-Adil, Abu Khair and Abu Muhammad were arrested in Shiraz and taken in to government custody. This was a ccording to statements by Sulayman Abu Ghayth.
The above image was distributed in an explosive leak in 2022 by a shadow group referring to themselves as the Sword of Anon. The group appears to be an extension of the Anonymous collective of hackers, focusing on matters related to the middle east and Iran. Presumably the evidence they found was from some shadowy part of the internet. The collective was then able to use very basic open source geolocation techniques on google maps to pinpoint exactly where this image was taken in Tehran.
Such a revelation was an explosive release and must have been a significant embarrassment for Al-Qaeda, before this image there had been no physical evidence to prove AQ senior presence in Iran. Moreover it showed the AQ members in the heart of the city, clearly not under arrest and enjoying a day in a sunlit park at their leisure. Such a close relationship between senior AQ leadership and the Iranian regime is an excellent example of such terrorist groups hypocrisy and clear proof why they should be treated as nothing more than low criminals. For at an ideological level these groups hate each other, you need look no further than AQ-Iraq leader Zarqawi’s bloody slaughter of the Shia in Iraq to see that they share no common ground. And yet AQ would give up their supposedly perfect religious ideals to make a deal with their adversaries and undermine all that they purport to stand for.
The claims made by the hacking collective were later confirmed in the Long War Journal, “Two U.S. intelligence officials independently confirmed to FDD’s Long War Journal the authenticity of the photograph, as well as the identities of the three men. The intelligence officials said the photograph was taken in Tehran before 2015. The photograph shows, from left to right, Saif al Adel, Abu Muhammad al Masri, and Abu Abu al Khayr al Masri. The photograph casts significant doubt on the assertions that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp and Ministry of Intelligence kept these and other Al Qaeda leaders under strict house arrest.”