The Pentagon confirmed yesterday on Wednesday that a Kuwaiti released from the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay three years ago carried out a suicide bombing in Iraq last month.
The involvement of an ex-Guantanamo detainee will make it harder for civil rights lawyers in the US and Britain, who have been fighting for the release of the remaining prisoners at the camp complex in Cuba.
Abdallah Salih al-Ajmi and two other Kuwaitis are reported by their families to have taken part in an attack on Iraqi security forces in Mosul, a northern city that is the scene of intense fighting.
Although the families did not specify a date, seven people were killed in a suicide attack in Mosul on April 26.
Civil rights lawyers claim most of the detainees are innocent, while the US military claims they present a danger and would take up arms if released.
The US military opposed his release, saying there was a risk that he presented a continuing danger, but he was freed after being transferred to Kuwait.
A spokesman for the US central command, US Navy Commander Scott Rye, said he did not know the motives behind the suicide bombing.
Ajmi, aged 30, a former Kuwaiti soldier, was taken to Guantanamo as part of a general sweep in 2001 after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.
He was accused of fighting with the Taliban, a charge he repeatedly denied.
He was transferred from Guantanamo to Kuwait in 2005. Alleged evidence obtained at Guantanamo was not allowed in a Kuwaiti court, which acquitted him and four others on terrorist-related charges.
His cousin, Salem al-Ajmi, told al-Arabiya television last Thursday that a friend of Abdallah had informed the family that he had carried out an attack in Mosul.
“We were shocked by the painful news we received this afternoon ... through a call from one of the friends of martyr Abdallah in Iraq,” Salem said.
Ajmi disappeared two weeks ago and his family learned he left Kuwait illegally for Syria, a regular transit point for jihadists travelling to Iraq.
He had sent messages to his wife from Iraq. He had a son after being released from Guantanamo.
Ajmi’s cousin said that he had given no indication that he was planning to leave Kuwait to join the insurgency in Iraq, though he had become more withdrawn recently.
The US military claimed he had deserted the Kuwaiti armed forces to fight with the Taliban for eight months in 2001 against the Northern Alliance, which was backed by the US.
As the Northern Alliance took Kabul with US help, Ajmi is alleged to have fled south to Tora Bora and was captured attempting to cross into Pakistan. He insisted he had gone to Pakistan to memorize the Koran, had never been in Afghanistan and had never heard of Tora Bora.
There are 275 detainees at Guantanamo, down from a high of 775. The US commander at the camp, Rear Admiral Mark Buzby, said in February that he expected about 80 to go on trial.
Of the remainder, 80 have already been cleared for release but cannot find a country that will take them. The others are awaiting clearance.
The Democratic and Republican candidates to replace US President George W. Bush have promised to close the camp.
The case against Ajmi in Kuwait collapsed after the court ruled that alleged testimony from Guantanamo was inadmissible because he had not signed it.
The presence of Kuwaiti foreign fighters and suicide bombers in Iraq is rare.
While 90 percent of suicide bombers have been foreigners, Kuwaitis have comprised less than 1 percent of foreign fighters in Iraq.
A British charity has teamed up with scientists to see whether dogs could help detect COVID-19 through their keen sense of smell, it said yesterday. Medical Detection Dogs is to work with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Durham University in northeast England to determine whether canines could help with diagnoses. It follows previous research into dogs’ ability to sniff out malaria and is based on a belief that each disease triggers a distinct odor. The organizations said that they had begun preparations to train dogs in six weeks “to help provide a rapid, non-invasive diagnosis towards the tail end
Under partial lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Spaniards are allowed to leave home only for essential outings, walking a dog being one of them, but not a rented dog, the Civil Guard said on Wednesday as it sanctioned a man who had repeatedly tried to rent his dogs out via Facebook so that people could walk them. “The man was advertising activities which implied people leaving their homes to rent dogs, or walk rented dogs,” said a Civil Guard spokeswoman in the northeastern Galicia region. “That would be infringing the decree that only permits going outdoors for work, groceries, walking
Britain’s Prince Charles, the eldest son and heir to Queen Elizabeth II, is showing mild symptoms of COVID-19, but “otherwise remains in good health,” his office said yesterday. The 71-year-old and his wife, Camilla, who does not have coronavirus, are currently self-isolating in Scotland, Clarence House said. “The Prince of Wales has tested positive for coronavirus,” it said in a statement, using his official title. “He has been displaying mild symptoms, but otherwise remains in good health and has been working from home throughout the last few days as usual.” “The Duchess of Cornwall [Camilla] has also been tested, but does not have
The water service in Odessa, a port city in southern Ukraine, was suddenly overrun this week with calls from worried residents with a peculiar concern. Were officials really planning to run an antiseptic solution through the city’s taps instead of water? The calls were sparked by a message on social media claiming that: “Today, from 11pm until the morning, antiseptic will be distributed” in the water system. The antiseptic supposedly included several different whiskies — a brand for each district. However outlandish the claim, Odessa’s water agency, Infoxvodokanal, still issued a clarification. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, false news stories have spiked in