Ex-Guantanamo al Qa'eda militant surrenders in Yemen

An al Qa'eda militant who served time at the US-run prison in Guantanamo Bay has given himself up to Yemeni authorities.

SANA'A // An al Qa'eda militant, who served time at the US-run prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has surrendered to Yemeni authorities after expressing remorse over his history, a security source said on Saturday. Ali Hussein al Taiss "expressed remorse for having served in al Qa'eda" and said he was "ready to collaborate" with Yemeni authorities, the source was quoted by the official Saba news agency as saying.

The source did not provide details on how the surrender was negotiated or when it took place. The news came a day after 11 Yemeni soldiers were killed in an ambush by al Qa'eda militants in the southern city of Loder. On August 15, Yemen announced the surrender of another al Qa'eda operative. Jamaan Safian was responsible for the organisation's activities in the Al Jawf province, northeast of the capital Sana'a.

Safian, whose name does not appear on the Yemeni list of most wanted al Qa'eda militants, "was sheltering non-Yemeni al Qa'eda members, especially Saudis," an official said. The Sana'a government has intensified its operations against al Qa'eda, under pressure from Washington, since the network's local affiliate claimed the attempted bombing of a US-bound airliner on Christmas Day last year. After that botched bomb plot the White House announced in early January that it had decided to suspend transfers of Guantanamo Bay prisoners to Yemen.

But a Pentagon official announced in July that a Yemeni prisoner, Mohammed Odaini, was sent home after a US district court ordered his release in May, while adding that the suspension "remains in effect." There are now 180 detainees left at Guantanamo Bay, the majority of them from Yemen, but the administration has yet to lay out a definitive timeline on how it will close the controversial facility.