Beirut (Lebanon), Jan.23 (ANI): A former Guantanamo Bay detainee freed by the United States, has become the deputy leader of Al Qaeda's Yemeni branch.
Saudi militant, Said Ali al-Shihri, is suspected of involvement in a deadly bombing of the United States Embassy in Yemen's capital, Sana, in September. He was released to Saudi Arabia in 2007 and passed through a Saudi rehabilitation program for former jihadists before resurfacing with Al Qaeda in Yemen.
His status was announced in an Internet statement by the militant group and was confirmed by an American counter-terrorism official.
The development came as Republican legislators criticized the plan to close the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, detention camp in the absence of any measures for dealing with current detainees.
"The lesson here is, whoever receives former Guantánamo detainees needs to keep a close eye on them," the New York Times quoted an American official, as saying.Long considered a haven for jihadists, Yemen, a desperately poor country in the southern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, has witnessed a rising number of attacks over the past year.
American officials say they suspect that Shihri may have been involved in the car bombings outside the American Embassy in Sana last September that killed 16 people, including six attackers.
A Saudi security official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Shihri had disappeared from his home in Saudi Arabia last year after finishing the rehabilitation program. (ANI)