Al-Qaeda suspects among 1,200 who escaped from Yemen prison

Updated 30 June 2015
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Al-Qaeda suspects among 1,200 who escaped from Yemen prison

SANAA: Around 1,200 prisoners escaped during clashes at a jail in central Yemen on Tuesday, among them Al-Qaeda suspects, officials and security sources said.
“Groups of Al-Qaeda supporters ... today attacked the central prison in the city of Taiz and more than 1,200 of the dangerous prisoners escaped,” state news agency Saba quoted a security official as saying.
Another local official told Reuters some of the escapees were “suspected of belonging to Al-Qaeda” but said they left amid heavy clashes between warring militias in the city.
Meanwhile, an attack on Houthi rebel leaders in Yemen’s capital claimed by Daesh killed at least 28 people, medics said Tuesday.
Yemen was previously the preserve of Daesh’s rival Al-Qaeda, which controls swathes of the south and east, but since March the group has claimed a string of high-profile attacks.
The car bomb late Monday targeted two brothers, both rebel chiefs, during a gathering to mourn the death of a relative, a security source said. Eight women were among the dead.
The explosion blew a crater in the road, took chunks out of nearby walls and left debris strewn across the street.
Daesh said in an online statement it had organized the attack on what it called a “Shiite nest.” The group has repeatedly targeted them, not only in Yemen but across the region. Last Friday, a Daesh suicide bomber killed 26 people and wounded 227 in a mosque in Kuwait.
The group launched its Yemen campaign in March with a series of bombings of Shiite mosques that killed 142 people.
The attacks have overshadowed the operations of rival Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula which overran Mukalla, capital of Hadramawt province in southeast Yemen, in March.
Washington still regards AQAP as the network’s most dangerous branch and has kept up a drone war against its leaders inside Yemen. But analysts say Daesh is now clearly in the ascendant.


US weighing options on American Daesh sympathizer in Syria

A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stands guard on top of a building on February 17, 2019, in the frontline Syrian village of Baghuz. (AFP)
Updated 20 February 2019
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US weighing options on American Daesh sympathizer in Syria

  • Neither option would likely pass muster in the cases of US citizens, who enjoy strong legal protections under the Constitution

WASHINGTON: The United States said Tuesday it wanted to ensure foreign terrorists remain off the battlefield as it weighed options on an American detained in Syria who says she wants to return home.
The United States has urged European powers to take back hundreds of their citizens who fought with the Daesh group in Syria, but acknowledged the situation was complex in the rare case of an American terrorist.
Hoda Muthana, a 24-year-old from Alabama who became a prominent online agitator for the extremists, said in an interview published Sunday with The Guardian that she had been brainwashed online and “deeply regrets” joining the movement.
While declining to discuss Muthana’s case specifically, State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said that the status of US citizens detained in Syria “is by definition extremely complicated.”
“We’re looking into these cases to better understand the details,” he told reporters.
Palladino said that the United States generally did not see a different solution between what to do with US fighters and with foreigners, saying the fighters pose “a global threat.”
“Repatriating these foreign terrorist fighters to their countries of origin, ensuring that they are prosecuted and detained — that’s the best solution, preventing them from returning to the battlefield,” he said.
The situation of foreign terrorists detained by US-allied Kurdish forces has taken a new urgency as President Donald Trump plans to withdraw US troops from Syria.
The Syrian Democratic Forces say they may have to refocus on fighting Turkey, which has vowed to crush Kurdish fighters it links to separatists at home.
Trump has contemplated reopening the US military base at Guantanamo Bay to take in new foreign inmates, while Britain on Tuesday revoked the citizenship of a female terrorsist who wanted to return home with her newborn baby.
Neither option would likely pass muster in the cases of US citizens, who enjoy strong legal protections under the Constitution.
Muthana, who was married three times to terrorists and has a son with one of her husbands, fled her family in 2014 to join the Daesh group in Syria, where she took to Twitter to urge attacks on fellow Americans.
In the interview with The Guardian, Muthana said that she was “really young and ignorant” when she joined Daesh and has since renounced radicalism.
“I believe that America gives second chances. I want to return and I’ll never come back to the Middle East,” she told the newspaper.
Hassan Shilby, a lawyer for Muthana, told ABC television’s “Good Morning America” that the young woman had been “brainwashed and manipulated” and is “absolutely disgusted” by the person she became.