The U.S. transferred Abdul Latif Nasir from Guantánamo to his home country of Morocco. Nasir allegedly led forces during the 2001 Battle of Tora Bora and was a member of an al Qaeda training subcommittee.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has released a new video that includes the testimony of several “spies” who have allegedly helped the Saudis and Americans hunt down the group’s members. There are reasons to be skeptical of AQAP’s claims, but the organization is clearly concerned that spies will do more damage to its hierarchy.
Ibrahim al Qosi, a former Guantanamo detainee, is one of three senior AQAP leaders featured in a video released this week titled, “Secrets, its Dangers and the Departure of the Best of Us.” The video is focused on the US drone campaign and the jihadists’ lapses in security.
The 17th edition of AQAP’s Inspire magazine provides a how-to guide for building a train derailment device. Al Qaeda has plotted against trains in the West in the past.
The Pentagon announced today that a former Guantanamo detainee, Yasir al Silmi, was killed in a bombing on Mar. 2 in Yemen. Joint Task Force Guantanamo identified al Silmi, also known as Muhammad Yasir Ahmed Taher, as a “high” risk and warned that he would “engage in extremist activities upon release.” He was transferred to Yemen on Dec. 19, 2009.
A former Guantanamo detainee known as Jamal al Harith (formerly Ronald Fiddler) launched a suicide attack with a vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) south of Mosul earlier this week. He is at least the second former Guantanamo detainee to launch a suicide attack in or around Mosul on behalf of the Islamic State and its predecessor organization.
Mohammed Al Ansi was one of ten Guantanamo detainees transferred to Oman earlier this week. Ansi had been denied transfer as recently as March 2016. The US government found that he “participated in advanced combat training and may have met with al Qaeda external operations chief Khalid Shaykh Mohammed.” Ansi may have been “considered for participation in a suicide attack or deployment in the West” as part of the 9/11 hijackings.
The State Department has designated Ibrahim al Banna as a terrorist. Al Banna has served as an al Qaeda official in Yemen since the 1990s. He originally joined the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) and has been one of Ayman al Zawahiri’s loyalists for decades.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released its most recent statistics on Guantanamo recidivism this week. 208 former detainees are either confirmed or suspected of rejoining the jihad. 188 of them were transferred or released during the Bush administration and the remaining 20 by the Obama administration. The estimated number of recidivists has steadily climbed since 2008, when the government first provided statistics on this topic.
The US government has released an unclassified summary of Abu Zubaydah’s career. Some claim that Abu Zubaydah wasn’t really an al Qaeda member when he was detained in March 2002, but the newly released file alleges that he worked closely with multiple senior al Qaeda operatives and possibly had foreknowledge of the terror group’s three most successful attacks between August 1998 and September 2001.
A leaked Joint Task Force – Guantanamo threat assessment describes Haji Hamidullah, who was recently transferred from Guantanamo to the UAE, as an “agent” of Iran. The Long War Journal first profiled Hamidullah in 2011. The leaked JTF-GTMO file contains numerous intelligence reports tying Iranian intelligence to the Afghan insurgency.
The State Department has added a former Guantanamo detainee, Ayrat Nasimovich Vakhitov, to the US government’s list of designated terrorists. According to press reports, Vakhitov was recently arrested in connection with the terrorist attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport. Also designated today is Aslan Avgazarovich Byutukaev, who leads the Islamic State’s forces in Chechnya.
The Department of Defense announced the transfer of Abdel Malik Ahmed Abdel Wahab Al Rahabi to the Government of Montenegro. Joint Task Force Guantanamo, President Obama’s Guantanamo Review Task Force, and a Periodic Review Board all previously deemed Rahabi too dangerous to transfer. A PRB cited his “possible” role in an aborted part of the 9/11 plot, but reversed its decision and eventually approved him for transfer.
Testimony to the House Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence on the threat posed by jihadist groups in Africa.
In a video released earlier this month, the Taliban trumpeted the exchange of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five top Taliban commanders who were held at Guantanamo. The Taliban says this “achievement” was the result of its extensive operations in Afghanistan’s Paktika province.
The Defense Department announced the transfer of nine Yemeni detainees from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia on April 16. The transferred detainees include a man who was allegedly one of Osama bin Laden’s bodyguards, the brother of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) current emir, and a jihadist the Obama administration determined was “too dangerous to transfer but not feasible for prosecution.”
According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, 204 former Guantanamo detainees are confirmed or suspected of reengaging in terrorist or insurgent “activities.” The number of ex-detainees on the US government’s recidivist list has steadily grown since an estimate was first made public in June 2008.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a two-part lecture by ex-Guantanamo detainee Ibrahim al Qosi earlier this month. Qosi threatened the Saudi government and explained al Qaeda’s rationale for waging jihad in Arabia. Qosi has starred in several AQAP productions since the group revealed his leadership role in early December.
Tariq Mahmoud Ahmed Al Sawah, an Egyptian held at Guantanamo since 2002, has been transferred to the Government of Bosnia. Despite compiling a lengthy dossier as an expert bomb maker on behalf of al Qaeda, US officials recommended that he be transferred. Al Sawah became a prolific source on al Qaeda and other detainees during his time in custody, and Joint Task Force – Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) concluded that his fellow jihadists may seek retribution if he tried to rejoin their ranks.
A Guantanamo detainee who was transferred to Kuwait in 2006 had quickly returned to the battlefield. He killed 13 Iraqi soldiers in a suicide truck bomb at a combat outpost in Mosul, Iraq in 2008.
On at least three separate occasions in the past, US officials, including President Obama’s own Guantanamo Review Task Force, recommended that Fayez al Kandari remain in US custody. Kandari also lost his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Joint Task Force – Guantanamo deemed him a “high risk” to the US, its interests and allies.
Ghana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Regional Integration said in a statement that it has accepted two Guantanamo detainees who “have been cleared of any involvement in terrorist activities, and are being released.” But that is not true. Neither one of the detainees was “cleared” by President Obama’s Guantanamo Review Task Force. One of the two was previously deemed a “high risk” by Joint Task Force – Guantanamo.
A new AQAP video features Ibrahim al Qosi, who was detained at Guantanamo from 2002 until 2012. Qosi is now an AQAP leader and spokesman.
Ugandan authorities have reportedly arrested Jamal Kiyemba, an ex-Guantanamo detainee, in connection with the assassination of a top counterterrorism prosecutor late last month.
Guantánamo conviction of Australian is overturned
The death of Mullah Khadim, who was released from Guantanamo eight years ago, is “another great example” of jihadists who “return to the battlefield and to the fight at their own peril,” according to Admiral Kirby.
Hagel: Gitmo transfers caused friction with some at White House
Mullah Raouf Khadim, an ex-Guantanamo detainee, leads a contingent of fighters loyal to the Islamic State in Helmand, Afghanistan. Raouf and another top Taliban commander were previously forced out of their positions in the Taliban’s hierarchy. According to a leaked threat assessment, the jihadist had ties to at least two members of the so-called “Taliban Five.”
Meet the shadowy figure recruiting for the Islamic State in Afghanistan
Islamic State ‘recruiting Afghan fighters’