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Terrorism & Security

Yemen ties of Northwest bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab test Guantanamo plans

Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who attempted to bomb a Northwest flight on Christmas day, claims ties to Al Qaeda in Yemen, pressuring the Obama administration's plans to shut down the Guantanamo prison facility. Nearly half of its detainees are from Yemen.

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Some Democrats appear unsure of the administration's plans as well. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D) of Mississippi, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told Politico: “In terms of sending more of them to return to Yemen, it would be a bit of a reach. I’d, at a minimum, say that whatever we were about to do we’d at least have to scrub it again from top to bottom.”

According to Fox News, nearly half of the remaining detainees in Guantánamo Bay – a total of 90 men – are from Yemen. Last week, the US sent six Yemenis from Guantánamo back to their home country. But with pressure growing to find a new place for them one suggestion has emerged: Saudi Arabia.

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Robert Jordan, former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said the Middle Eastern nation would have a natural "self-interest" in working with the United States on the issue and called the country a reliable partner.



"The Saudis have a pretty good system of sorting out who's who. It's not perfect, but it's going to be a lot more effective than allowing the Yemenis to do what they've done in the past, which is to cast a blind eye at the effectiveness of detention," Jordan said.

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See also:

Was Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab radicalized in London?

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Scores killed in clashes between militants and Nigeria security forces

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Gaza war anniversary: How one group helps victims overcome trauma

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