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Released detainee now Yemen al-Qaida commander
Said Ali al-Shihri was released in 2007 to the Saudi government for rehabilitation. He re-emerged this week, identified by a militant-leaning Web site as a top deputy in "al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula," a Yemeni offshoot of the terror group headed by Osama bin Laden.
The Yemeni branch has been implicated in several attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Yemen's capital Sana.
Al-Shihri is one of a small number of deputies in the group, the U.S. counter-terror official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss sensitive intelligence.
The militant Web site, which referred to al-Shihri under his terror nom de guerre, "Abu Sayyaf al-Shihri," also revealed his Guantanamo prisoner number, 372.
The announcement from the militant site came the same day that President Barack Obama signed an executive order directing the closure of the jail at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, within a year.
A key question facing Obama's new administration is what to do with the 245 prisoners still confined at Guantanamo. That means finding new detention facilities for hard-core prisoners while trying to determine which detainees are harmless enough to release.
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