Former Guantanamo detainee killed in US blitz on Yemen

Former Guantanamo detainee killed in US blitz on Yemen
2 min read
07 March, 2017
Silmi was held in the infamous prison camp Guantanamo Bay until he left for Yemen in 2009. Over the weekend he was killed in a US raids on al-Qaeda territories.
Al-Qaeda have been under bombardment from the US in recent days [file photo - AFP]

A former Guantanamo Bay inmate was killed in a US air strike in Yemen last week, Washington said on Monday.

It comes as part of a stepped-up campaign against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula with dozens on drone strikes on areas claimed to be occupied by the jihadi group.

"We can confirm the death of a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, Yasir al-Silmi," Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said.

Silmi - also known as Mohammed Tahar - had been incarcerated at the notorious US military prison in Cuba from 2002 to December 2009, when he was repatriated to Yemen.

Davis said he was not considered a "high-value" target.

His Guantanamo file said the 37-year-old Yemeni was an "Islamic extremist" who had wanted to conduct bomb attacks against US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Republican lawmakers repeatedly blocked then-president Barack Obama's efforts to shut Guantanamo and pointed to former detainees returning to the fight as proof inmates should remain locked up there.

Silmi died 2 March in the same strike that killed Usayd al-Adnani, a "long-time explosives expert who served as the organisation's emir within the Abyan governorate", Davis said.

The US has conducted more than 40 strikes against AQAP in Yemen since ramping up operations five nights ago.

None of the strikes have been conducted based on intelligence gathered in a botched US raid in January - the first authorised by President Donald Trump - in which multiple civilians, including children, and a Navy SEAL were killed.

Two years of civil war in Yemen have allowed AQAP, which the US regards as the extremists' most dangerous branch, to consolidate its grip on territory in southern and eastern Yemen.