Freed Detainee Becomes Al-Qaeda Chief

After Gitmo, suspected in bombing of US embassy in Yemen
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2009 7:36 AM CST
Freed Detainee Becomes Al-Qaeda Chief
Smokes raise from the US Embassy in San'a, Yemen, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2008 after a car bomb targeting the Embassy hit the front gate of the compound.   (AP Photo/SABA)

As Barack Obama prepares to close Guantanamo Bay, the story of Said Ali al-Shihri provides a cautionary tale. Released from the prison camp in 2007, the Saudi has become the deputy leader of al-Qaeda’s Yemeni branch and is suspected of involvement in the bombing of the US embassy there in September, the New York Times reports.

The militant group identified Shihri as its deputy leader in an online statement, noting that he was released from Guantanamo “more than 10 months ago.” “They’re one and the same guy,” said an American counterterrorism official. “The lesson here is, whoever receives former Guantanamo detainees needs to keep a close eye on them.” Shihri completed a rehabilitation program for ex-jihadists when he was returned to Saudi Arabia, then disappeared. (More Guantanamo Bay stories.)

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