Former Gitmo detainee arrested for ISIS ties

Former Gitmo detainee arrested for ISIS ties
© Getty Images

A former Guantánamo Bay detainee was among four people arrested Tuesday by Spanish and Moroccan police on suspicion of being in a jihadi cell recruiting fighters for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), The Associated Press reports.

The arrests come the same day President Obama released a long-awaited plan to close the military prison at Guantánamo and is sure to enflame Republicans who are already calling his plan “dead on arrival.”

“Just today we got news that another Guantánamo detainee ... that’s engaged with ISIS,” said Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteAudit finds US Defense Department wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars US sends A-10 squadron to Afghanistan for first time in three years No, the US did not spend million on a gas station in Afghanistan MORE (R-N.H.), a staunch opponent of closing the facility. “I still continue to be concerned that they’re transferring these individuals oversees without sufficient protections, and these individuals can reengaged in the fight.

“They haven’t addressed that,” she added of Obama’s plan. “In fact, their plan seems to suggest their going to accelerate that process.”

Three people were arrested in the Spanish city of Ceuta, which is located on the north coast of Africa, the AP reported. Another was arrested in the Moroccan border town of Farkhana.

One of those arrested in Ceuta was described by Spanish authorities as a former Guantánamo detainee who was fought with militants in Afghanistan and was “a leader who was trained in handling weapons, explosives and in military tactics,” the AP quoted the authorities as saying.

Authorities didn’t name the former detainee but said he was captured in 2002, held in Guantánamo and then returned to Spain in 2004, according to the AP.

Under the plan released Tuesday, the administration would transfer 35 detainees deemed eligible to other countries.

"We are optimistic that all the 35 will be transferred in the next several months," a senior administration official said.

Another 46 detainees would continue to face review boards to determine their eligibility based on the threat they pose, senior administration officials said. 

Those deemed too dangerous to transfer to other countries would be brought to a facility in the United States.