A Kuwaiti freed from Guantanamo Bay carried out a suicide car bombing recently in Iraq, the U.S. military said Wednesday, confirming what is believed to be the first such attack by a former detainee at the U.S. military detention center in Cuba.
Abdallah Salih al-Ajmi was in one of three suicide bomb attacks last month that killed at least seven Iraqi security forces in Mosul, said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Scott Rye, a military spokesman in Baghdad.
Ajmi's American lawyer said incarceration at Guantanamo may have turned the Kuwaiti into a terrorist. But the U.S. military says he was already an enemy combatant when he was brought to Guantanamo in 2002 after being captured in Afghanistan.
Ajmi is one of several former Guantanamo detainees believed to have returned to combatant status, said another American military spokesman, Cmdr. Jeffrey D. Gordon. "Some have subsequently been killed in combat and participated in suicide bomber attacks," he said.
Rye said it was rare to find Kuwaiti foreign fighters and suicide bombers in Iraq. "Although 90 percent of all suicide bombers in Iraq have been foreigners, historically, Kuwaitis have comprised less than 1 percent of foreign fighters in Iraq," he said.
Up to 36 former Guantanamo detainees have resumed hostilities against the United States, including some who have been taken back into custody or killed, the Pentagon says.
Military documents show Ajmi, 29, had a history of discipline problems at Guantanamo Bay, where he was held for more than 3½ years.
In 2005 Ajmi was transferred to Kuwait, which was supposed to ensure he would no longer pose a threat.
But in May 2006, a Kuwaiti court acquitted him of being a member of al-Qaida. The court also acquitted four other former Guantanamo prisoners.
Information from the Associated Press and New York Times was used in this report.