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US Airstrikes in Yemen Kill Former Gitmo Detainee


FILE - Forensic experts inspect the rubble of a house destroyed by a Saudi-led airstrikes on the outskirts of Sanaa, Yemen, Feb. 16, 2017.

A former Guantanamo Bay detainee was among several al-Qaida operatives killed in recent U.S. airstrikes on terror targets in Yemen, a Pentagon spokesman said on Monday.

Yasir al-Silmi, who was held at the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, from 2002-2009, was killed in an airstrike on March 2, according to Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis.

The U.S. military has carried out more than 40 airstrikes in Yemen during the past five days targeting members of al-Qaida branch in the country, known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

Latest airstrike Sunday

The latest strike in Yemen's Abyan governorate on Sunday targeted seven AQAP operatives, Davis said.

He said the latest round of airstrikes were meant to deny AQAP operatives "freedom of movement."

The Pentagon spokesman announced that two other top AQAP militants were killed in strikes on March 2 and 3, including explosives expert and district leader Usayd al-Adani, and al-Adani's communications intermediary, Harithah al-Waqari.

A U.S. Air Force crew chief signals the pilot of an F-16 Flying Falcon as it taxis for a mission at Bagram air field in Afghanistan Aug. 11, 2016.
A U.S. Air Force crew chief signals the pilot of an F-16 Flying Falcon as it taxis for a mission at Bagram air field in Afghanistan Aug. 11, 2016.

Many detainees return to battlefield

Al-Silmi, a native Yemeni, was repatriated by former President Barack Obama in December 2009.

The Pentagon has estimated that at least 30 percent of transferred Guantanamo Bay detainees have returned to the battlefield.

There are 41 detainees left at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

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    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea.

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