Former detainee allegedly conducted attack in Mosul
Stars and Stripes May 9, 2008
A former Guantanamo detainee freed in 2005 after being held for more than three years allegedly carried out a suicide attack in Mosul last month, according to U.S. military officials and Islamic extremist groups.
The man, a Kuwaiti identified by the military as Abdullah Saleh al-Ajmi, allegedly took part in one of a string of bomb attacks that struck the northern Iraqi city in late April. Al-Ajmi had been a Kuwaiti soldier who allegedly went to fight for the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001; he was captured trying to cross into Pakistan and held in Guantanamo until 2005, when he was transferred to Kuwait, officials said.
In May 2006, a Kuwaiti court acquitted him and four other former detainees of terrorism charges and released the men.
U.S. military officials in Iraq said al-Ajmi apparently entered Iraq through Syria before the alleged attack in Mosul.
“It is unknown what motivated him to leave Kuwait and go to Iraq,” Navy Cmdr. Scott Rye, a military spokesman, said in an e-mail to news agencies. “His family members reportedly were shocked to hear he had conducted a suicide bombing.”
The claim first was made on several jihadist Web sites, which posted photos of al-Ajmi and lauded him as a “hero” who took part in the Mosul attacks. Several attacks took place in Mosul. It was unclear which one he was linked to.
According to a CNN report, “Pentagon officials who had been keeping track of al-Ajmi said they were aware he had left Kuwait for Syria, a launching ground for terrorists into Iraq.”
American officials have in the past said that around a dozen former Guantanamo detainees had “engaged in hostilities” against the U.S. or its allies, though officials said this appeared to be the first suicide attack.
Since 2002, according to the Pentagon, around 460 former detainees still considered security threats have been “repatriated” to their home countries or sent to third countries. An unknown number of those former detainees have been released by those countries.
There are currently around 270 detainees held in Guantanamo, the Pentagon said, including several “high-value targets” who are slated to undergo military tribunals.