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Yemen arrests al Qaeda member once held at Gitmo

  • Story Highlights
  • Mohammad al-Awfi arrested in Yemen, deported to Saudi Arabia, reports say
  • Al-Awfi released from Guantanamo Bay detention facility in 2007
  • Al-Awfi had fled Saudi custody
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(CNN) -- Yemen authorities have arrested and extradited a Saudi man who rejoined al Qaeda after he was released from the U.S. military's detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Yemen's embassy in the United States announced the arrest of Mohammad al-Awfi on Tuesday. Its state-run news agency reported Wednesday that al-Awfi has been extradited to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia recently asked for Interpol's help in apprehending al-Awfi and 84 other wanted al Qaeda suspects. It was a rare admission by the kingdom that some of its most wanted terrorists are on the loose, and it needs help in finding them.

Al-Awfi goes by several names, including Mazin Salih Musaid Awfi, Abu Hareth Awfi, and Muhammad Ateeq Uwaidh al-Aufi.

Last month, he appeared in a video along with another Guantanamo detainee, Saeed Shihri, who is believed to have been responsible for an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Yemen that killed nearly a dozen people last September.

The attack came barely a year after both men were released from Guantanamo to the custody of Saudi Arabia. Shihri is one of al Qaeda's top leaders in Yemen, and al-Awfi is the group's field commander.

Interpol issued a rare global security alert for the men last week. Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said it was the first time the international police organization has "been asked to alert the world about so many dangerous fugitives at one time."

President Obama last month ordered the Guantanamo detention facility closed within a year. Where the almost 250 detainees now in Guantanamo will be moved to has not been determined.

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