Al-Qaeda’s new top leader is brother of Guantanamo detainee

Qasim al-Raymi, current Al-Qaeda commander in Yemen, and Emir of the AQAP affiliate. Image source Wikipedia.

A veteran jihadist who rose through the ranks since 9/11 has been named the new leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

Qasim al Raymi – who was identified as an important al Qaeda operative by at least three jihadists in US custody — is replacing the AQAP leader, Nasir al Wuhayshi. It was confirmed by AQAP earlier this week that al Wuhayshi was killed in a US drone strike.

Al Raymi’s younger brother, Ali, who admittedly attended an al Qaeda training camp, has been held at Guantanamo since 2002.

Government officials say, Qasim al Raymi figures prominently in his brother’s Joint Task Force-Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) files.

According to an article in the Long War Journal, Qasim al Raymi was convicted on terrorism-related charges in Yemen in 2004 for plotting to assassinate US Ambassador Edmund Hull and attacking foreign embassies. al Raymi and other defendants at his terror trial were reportedly heard chanting, “There is no god but Allah, America is the enemy of Allah, Osama [bin Laden] is beloved by Allah.”

Qasim al Raymi was in his early 20’s when his brother was first detained at Guantanamo. In 2006, the older al Raymi brother would break out of a Yemeni prison.

A leaked threat assessment, authored by JTF-GTMO says that military officials recommended Ali al Raymi for transfer to the control of another country for continued detention in 2004. JTF-GTMO deemed him to be a “medium” threat at the time.

In January 2010, President Obama’s Guantanamo Review Task Force recommended al Raymi for “conditional detention,” meaning the security situation in Yemen was too unstable to transfer him home at the time, according to the article.

There are just three paragraphs describing Ali al Raymi’s background in the JTF-GTMO threat assessment, and one of them is devoted to his more infamous older brother, the article says.

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