A former Guantanamo Bay detainee was killed in a United States airstrike in Yemen last week, the Pentagon said Monday.
Yasir al-Silmi, who was held at Guantanamo from 2002 to 2009, was killed in a strike Thursday, according to the Pentagon.
The Pentagon has bombarded al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch, known as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), with airstrikes over the last five days. As of Monday, U.S. forces have carried out more than 40 airstrikes against the group, considered the most dangerous of al Qaeda’s branches.
Al-Salmi, a native Yemeni, was repatriated by former President Obama on Dec. 17, 2009. Transfers to Yemen have since been banned by U.S. law because of the turmoil in the country.
A 2008 military profile of al-Salmi, who at Guantanamo was called Muhammaed Yasir Ahmed Taher, said he was captured in March 2002 in a safehouse in Faisalabad, Pakistan. He intended to return to Afghanistan “to conduct attacks against U.S. and Coalition forces using improvised explosive devices,” the profile said.
The interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force established by Obama approved his transfer after examining factors including “potential threat, mitigation measures and the likelihood of success in habeas litigation,” according to a 2009 Justice Department press release on his and 11 other transfers.
Of those confirmed, 113 were released by former President George W. Bush and nine were released by Obama.
Unable to fulfill his goal of closing the facility, Obama worked to empty the facility as much as possible by transferring detainees to foreign countries. The efforts were repeatedly slammed by Republicans, who pointed to the figures on former inmates engaging in terrorism after their release.
President Trump has promised to keep Guantanamo open and load it up with “bad dudes.” Draft executive orders have circulated that would allow any potential newly captured Islamic State in Iraq and Syria fighters to be sent there, as well as halt the process for clearing detainees for transfer, but no order has been signed yet.