U.S. counterterrorism officials say a man released from the U.S.
military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba has resurfaced to become the
deputy leader of al-Qaida's Yemeni branch.
Officials on Friday
confirmed an al-Qaida Internet statement which says the former
Guantanamo detainee now holds the terrorist group's number two position
The man, identified as Said Ali al-Shihri, was
released from Guantanamo in late 2007 and went to Saudi Arabia before
going to Yemen.
Officials are investigating whether al-Shihri
was involved in car bombings last year outside the U.S. Embassy in the
Yemeni capital, Sanaa, that killed 16 people, including six attackers.
week, the U.S. Defense Department said 61 former Guantanamo prisoners
are confirmed or suspected of having returned to terrorism. A Pentagon
spokesman said that figure is up from the 37 ex-prisoners mentioned in
the Pentagon's previous estimate in March 2008.
U.S. President Barack Obama ordered the Guantanamo Bay detention center
to be closed within one year. He also set up a task force that will
recommend what is to be done with about 245 remaining prisoners once
the controversial prison is closed.
The Guantanamo prison was opened under former U.S. President George Bush to house foreign terror suspects.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.