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Yemen authorities have arrested and extradited a Saudi man who is believed rejoined al Qaeda after he was released from the U.S. military's detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. “Al-Awfi was extradited to Saudi Arabia last Tuesday,” affirmed an official source at the ministry of interior.
Yemen's embassy in the United States announced the arrest of Mohammad al-Awfi on Tuesday.
Al-Awfi goes by several names, including Mazin Salih Musaid Awfi, Abu Hareth Awfi, and Muhammad Ateeq Uwaidh al-Aufi.
Last month, he appeared in a video along with another Guantanamo detainee, Saeed Shihri, who is believed to have been responsible for an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Yemen that killed nearly a dozen people last September.
The attack came barely a year after both men were released from Guantanamo to the custody of Saudi Arabia. Shihri is one of al Qaeda's top leaders in Yemen, and al-Awfi is the group's field commander.
Saudi Arabia recently asked for Interpol's help in apprehending al-Awfi and 84 other wanted al Qaeda suspects. It was a rare admission by the kingdom that some of its most wanted terrorists are on the loose, and it needs help in finding them.
Interpol issued a rare global security alert for the men last week. Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said it was the first time the international police organization has "been asked to alert the world about so many dangerous fugitives at one time."
Meanwhile a source at the ministry of interior rejected the news circulated by some newspapers that claimed the Yemen I minister of interior Mutahar Rashad al-Masri had announced that al-Qaeeda has been uprooted from Yemen. The source said that the minister had never revealed to any newspaper or media such irrational announcements. The source said this news was first published by al-Dustoor newspaper in Jordan and that other newspapers have copied it from that newspaper without verifying the truth.
President Obama last month ordered the Guantanamo detention facility closed within a year. Where the almost 250 detainees now in Guantanamo will be moved to has not been determined.
On the same context Saba news agency has reported that the Yemeni authorities have been investigating seven suspected al-Qaeeda members that have been arrested recently in one of the raids the security forces launched in several areas at the border with Saudi Arabia last week.
Security sources were quoted by the ruling party (GPC)'s www.almotamar.net as saying that Initial investigations with the cell revealed its members received orders from al-Qaeda leadership to infiltrate into Yemen and commit terrorist attacks on foreign targets and tourist facilities.
The seven members also said they aimed to train new affiliates in the country. All the members are Saudi nationals.