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                                         (See also: Jihad)

At one point during its earliest years of operation, the Guantanamo Bay detention center housed as many as 780 prisoners who were suspected of helping to plan or carry out terrorist activities against the United States. By early 2010, just 198 of them remained in custody; the rest had been released by American authorities and repatriated to their home countries. According to a December 2010 assessment by the Director of National Intelligence, fully 25 percent of the detainees who had been freed were either known to have returned, or were suspected of having returned, to jihadist pursuits against the U.S. and its interests.

One of the more noteworthy prisoners released from Guantanamo was Abdullah Mehsud, a 28-year-old Pakistani who was freed in 2004 after 25 months in custody. Once he had been let go, he promptly resumed his alliance with al Qaeda and helped mastermind an October 9, 2004 kidnapping of two Chinese nationals who were involved in the building of Pakistan’s Gomal Zam Dam. Mehsud now holds the distinction of being Pakistan’s most wanted man, and is described in a report in the London Independent as a “growing legend” among rebel Pakistanis.

Another former Guantanamo detainee is Ali al-Shihri, a Saudi national who, despite having undergone urban warfare training in Afghanistan, was released in 2007 on the condition that he fulfill his pledge to return home, live a peaceful life, and work in his family's furniture store. Instead, Al-Shihri and another Saudi who had already been released from Guantanamo, Ibrahim Suleiman al-Rubaish, collaborated to spearhead the expansion of an al Qaeda offshoot in Yemen. In January 2009, Al-Shihri mocked the United States for having released him, saying that his (and his comrades') stay in Guantanamo had only "increased our persistence and adherence to our principles." Al-Shihri is now deputy leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a group that claimed responsibility for the attempted bomb attack on a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day 2009.



Gitmo Recidivism Rate Soars
By Thomas Joscelyn
December 7, 2010
Intel Report Confirmed 18 Freed Gitmo Detainees Returned to Terror--Including in Afghanistan--Before Obama Ordered Closing of Prison
By Fred Lucas
September 2, 2010
One in Five Gitmo Suspects Returns to Terror, Pentagon Finds
By Fred Lucas
January 7, 2010

Pentagon: 61 Ex-Guantanamo Inmates Return to Terrorism
By David Morgan
January 13, 2009


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