A suicide attack near the Iraqi city of Mosul, for which ISIS has claimed responsibility, was carried out by British former Guantanamo Bay detainee Jamal al-Harith.
The 50-year-old from Manchester, whose nom de guerre is Abu-Zakariya al-Britani, was identified by his family as the man ISIS claims carried out the attack on coalition forces on Monday.
Al-Harith was awarded £1m compensation after claiming that British agents knew he was being mistreated during the time he was held without charge at Guantanamo. He was taken to the detention centre after being found in a prison in Afghanistan early in 2002, where he had been placed after being intercepted by the Taliban, who believed him to be a British spy.
His release was recommended by Guantánamo’s commandant in 2002 “on the assessment that the detainee was not affiliated with al-Qaida or a Taliban leader.” He was finally released in 2004 after lobbying by the then home secretary David Blunkett, who said that none of the people whose release from Guantánamo he had secured “will actually be a threat to the security of the British people.”
A decade later, and despite his high profile, al-Harith was able to travel to Syria, one of about 850 individuals of national security concern who have travelled to join the conflict, according to figures published by the government last year. Of those, a little less than half have returned to the UK and about 15% are dead.
Al-Harith’s wife told Channel 4 News the following year that she had pursued him to Syria with her children in a failed bid to persuade him to come home.