Sabir Mahfouz Lahmar, a former detainee in the U.S. Guantanamo Bay Detention Center in Cuba, has been arrested by French authorities on charges of being an active recruiter for the Islamic State terror group. He was arrested with five other acquaintances (three men and two women) who are also accused of being members of the recruitment network.
Lahmar is an Algerian national who was arrested by Bosnian authorities in 2001 when he was allegedly part of a jihadist group plotting to bomb the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo. Lahmar was later transferred to Guantanamo in 2002.
After Lahmar’s capture, the Pentagon determined that he was a senior member of the Bosnia-based Armed Islamic Group (GIA), which was coordinating with Al Qaeda on the plot to bomb the U.S. embassy. The Department of Defense ruled at the time of his capture that he was a high risk to pose a threat to U.S. interests, if released.
Additionally, the Pentagon claimed he attempted to travel between Afghanistan and Iran to meet with Al Qaeda leaders. Officials also determined that he was “known in Bosnia as being a vehemently anti-Western Islamic extremist.” He also reportedly stated that “attacks should be carried out against US troops in Bosnia because he believed the US was the number one enemy of Islam.”
Lahmar was freed (along with four other Algerian nationals) from Guantanamo in 2009 after a District of Columbia judge ruled that there was no evidence supporting his classification as an “enemy combatant.” He was then transferred to France after former French President Nicolas Sarkozy agreed to take him in.
Eight years later, Lahmar is an alleged Islamic State terrorist in a country that is in the midst of a spike in jihad terror.
There are 41 remaining at Guantanamo Bay. They include high-profile terrorists like the “9-11 five,” among whom is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the September 11 attacks.
President Trump has promised to keep the detention center open and “load it up with some bad dudes,” reversing former President Obama’s pledge to shut down the facility.