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{UAH} ISIL suicide bomber identified as former Guantanamo detainee awarded $1.25M compensation

ISIL suicide bomber identified as former Guantanamo detainee awarded $1.25M compensation



LONDON — A British ISIL fighter who carried out a suicide bombing in Iraq this week is a former Guantanamo Bay detainee who was paid US$1.25 million compensation by the government.

Jamal al-Harith, 50, a Muslim convert born Ronald Fiddler, detonated a car bomb at an Iraqi army base near Mosul, causing an unverified number of casualties.

He had been released from the US detention camp in 2004 and successfully claimed compensation after saying British agents knew of — or were complicit in — his mistreatment.

He was freed following intense lobbying by Tony Blair's Labour government.

Al-Harith, who used the nom de guerre Abu-Zakariya al-Britani, entered Syria via Turkey in 2014 to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, leading to questions about the monitoring of terrorist suspects.

It also raised the possibility that he had handed on to ISIL the compensation paid by British taxpayers.

Earlier this week, ISIL named him as the army base bomber and released an image of him sitting inside the "bomb car" grinning broadly, with wires and what may be a detonation button in the background.

A statement released by the terrorist group said: "The martyrdom-seeking brother Abu Zakariya al-Britani – may Allah accept him – detonated his explosives-laden vehicle on a headquarters of the Rafidhi army and its militias in Tal Kisum village, southwest of Mosul."

"Rafidha" is a derogatory term for Shiite Muslims, whom ISIL consider to be heretics.

Al-Harith was arrested by US forces in Pakistan in 2001 as a suspected Taliban sympathizer and sent to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba in 2002.

On his release, the then home secretary David Blunkett said: "No one who is returned … will actually be a threat to the security of the British people."

Al-Harith's wife Shukee Begum travelled to Syria with their five children to try to persuade her husband to return to the U.K., but failed and was taken hostage before eventually managing to escape.

Al-Harith, originally from Manchester, was the son of Jamaican immigrants, converted to Islam in the Nineties and worked as a web designer before he travelled to the Pakistani city of Quetta in 2001 for what he claimed was a religious holiday.

He insisted he had tried to enter Iran when the US invaded neighbouring Afghanistan, but was captured and imprisoned by the Taliban on suspicion of being a British spy.

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