A former detainee repatriated by the Obama administration in late 2009 was killed in recent air strikes in Yemen, the Pentagon said Monday.
Navy Capt. Jeff Davis identified the dead detainee as Yasir Ali Abdallah al Silmi who was killed Thursday “in a U.S. strike in Abyan Governorate, Yemen.” Davis said Silmi was held at Guantánamo as Detainee 679, where he was called Mohammed Tahar. He was returned to his homeland in December 2009.
Tahar’s brother, Ali Abdullah Ahmed, was held at Guantánamo too, and was among three captives the military said committed suicide simultaneously at Camp Delta in 2006.
The Defense Department described the attacks in Yemen as “precision strikes” against al-Qaida of the Arabian Peninsula, a post- 9/11 offshoot of Osama bin Laden’s group in his ancestral homeland. Several other former detainees have joined with the movement, including repatriated Saudis and Sudanese war criminal Ibrahim al Qosi, who pleaded guilty at the Guantánamo war court in 2010 in exchange for repatriation two years later. Qosi emerged as an AQAP spiritual adviser in 2015.
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Tahar’s leaked 2006 Guantánamo prison profile shows he was captured in Faisalabad, Pakistan, in March 2002 in coordinated security services raids that scooped up suspected foreign fighters in three different suspected al-Qaida safehouses.
The most prominent among them was the high-value detainee known as Abu Zubaydah.
Tahar’s prison profile put him at a different site, the Issa safehouse, but described him as similar to those captured at the Zubaydah safehouse, intending to return “to Afghanistan to conduct attacks against U.S. and Coalition forces using improvised explosive devices.” Many of the captives captured that day were subsequently released.