Former Gitmo Detainee Named As Al Qaeda Leader

January 23, 2009

Lebanon (ChattahBox) – New information has named a former Guantanamo Bay detainee as the leader of the Yemeni Al Qaeda branch, and it is believed he may be behind the startling rise in Yemen attacks that have left scores of civilian casualties in the poverty-stricken nation.

Ali al-Shihri was released in November 2007, and as a former jihadist was sent through a rehabilitation program located in Saudi Arabia. It is thought that he traveled to Yemen from there, and joined Al Qaeda, quickly taking control of the sect within the area.

Now being called Abu Sayyaf al Shihiri, after adopting the common alias used by Al Qaeda terrorists, it was released by the militant group over the Internet earlier this week, and confirmed by the Department of Defense.

“They’re one and the same guy,” said an anonymous official. “He returned to Saudi Arabia in 2007, but his movements to Yemen remain unclear.”

Shihiri trained in Afghanistan, in an urban warfare encampment in Kabul. He worked closely with extremists groups hiding within Iran, in an attempt to fulfill a fatwa that had been placed on an unknown author, planning his assassination.

He later denied this, stating that he had been in Iran to purchase carpets for a family run furniture store he had been working in. During his release interview from Guantanamo Bay, he claimed that he hoped to return.

“The detainee stated he would attempt to work at his family’s furniture store if it is still in business,” the release documents claim.

No plans have been released for a future attempt at capture, but it is becoming more and more obvious that action much be taken in Yemen to stomp out Al Qaeda, which is quickly gaining a stronger foothold in the region, with a large number of attacks being perpetrated in the area.

It is believe that is was the Yemeni branch, under the leadership of Shahiri, that was responsible to the bombing of the US Embassy, located in Yemen, last September.  The news underscored the potential complications in carrying out the executive order President Obama signed Thursday that the detention center be shut down within a year.


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