A Pentagon spokesperson told reporters today that another former Guantanamo Bay detainee was among those killed in recent U.S. airstrikes on terror targets in Yemen. Capt. Jeff Davis said on Monday that Yasir al-Silmi, who was a detainee at that the military prison located on the island of Cuba, from 2002-2009, has become the latest alumne of the facility to be killed on the battlefield since he was release under President Obama. Al-Silmi has been confirmed killed in an airstrike on March 2.
While Capt. Davis could not divulge specifics of the airstrike, or why al-Silmi was released in the first place, he did confirm that he was released under President Obama’s modified release program in 2009. Davis also confirmed that al-Silmi has long been among those that were known to have returned to Jihad and who’s where-a-bouts were being tracked. Al-Silmi was also known to use the name of Mohammed Tahar.
Since President Trump’s administration has taken over, there has been a marked increase in the number of airstrikes both in Yemen and against ISIS in Syria. Pentagon sources confirmed that there have been more than 40 airstrikes just in Yemen over the past five nights. That is a marked increase from the waning days of the Obama administration as they counted down to the end of their term.
Obama seemed to be more interested in stepping up efforts to empty out the detention center by shrinking the prison population at Guantanamo Bay through transferring dangerous terrorists to third party nations than to killing the ones already on the battlefield. But even though, President Obama was never able to realize his campaign pledge of closing the U.S. detention facility, he did succeed in releasing dozens of dangerous enemies of the United States back into the terrorist Jihads around the world.
While Obama assured the U.S. in December that only “low-level” terrorist operatives had been released from Guantanamo Bay, the emergence of former detainees taking on high-level roles in terror groups has undermined that message. One, Ibrahim al Qosi, became the face of Al Qaeda in Yemen. The Pentagon has estimated that at least 30 percent of transferred Guantanamo Bay detainees had returned to the battlefield, killing Americans and U.S. allies. Critics contend the number is far higher than 30 percent.
During its peak, Guantanamo Bay held 778 suspected terror operatives.