Africa bombing suspect moved to Guantanamo
The Pentagon on Monday announced it has transferred to Guantanamo Bay a suspect in at least two terror attacks in Kenya.
Abdul Malik, captured earlier this year in East Africa, allegedly confessed to participation in the 2002 Paradise Hotel attack near Mombasa that killed 13. He also allegedly admitted a role in the attempted downing of an Israeli charter airliner carrying 271 people near the same coastal resort city.
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman, who announced the capture and transfer, would not specify when Malik was apprehended or where he was held prior to being transferred to Guantanamo. Nor would officials provide Malik’s nationality.
“Often our success in the global war on terror requires us to work closely — as well as quietly — with many of our allies in the region,” Whitman said.
Malik will be given a “combatant status review” at Guantanamo, “where he will be given the opportunity to review an unclassified summary of the evidence against him and contest his enemy combatant status,” a Pentagon press release read.
There are now around 385 prisoners at Guantanamo, officials said.
“The capture of Malik exemplifies the genuine threat that the United States and other countries face throughout the world in the war on terrorism,” the news release read. “The detainees being held at Guantanamo have provided information essential to our ability to understand better how al-Qaida operates, and thus to prevent future attacks against innocent civilians.”
The Pentagon and the Bush administration have come under intense pressure to close the prison. According to news reports this week, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates argued for the closure of the prison shortly after taking over at the Pentagon, but was rebuffed.
President Bush repeatedly has said he would like to close the prison, but that until there is a replacement, it serves a critical purpose.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, also being held at Guantanamo, allegedly has admitted to masterminding the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and allegedly told a military tribunal that Mombasa was among the plots he led.
Reporter Jeff Schogol contributed to this report.