Islamic State suicide bomber a British citizen, former detainee at Guantanamo Bay
An image released by IS and published on Monday by the SITE Intelligence Group was confirmed as al-Harith by his brother Leon Jameson.Updated: Feb 22, 2017 09:20 IST
A suicide bomber from the Islamic State group was a British citizen detained at Guantanamo Bay, a family member told The Times newspaper on Wednesday.
The British fighter, whom IS claimed detonated a suicide bomb against Iraqi forces outside Mosul, was named in the British media as Jamal al-Harith -- detained at the United States base between 2002 and 2004.
An image released by IS and published on Monday by the SITE Intelligence Group was confirmed as al-Harith by his brother Leon Jameson.
“It is him, I can tell by his smile. If it is true then I have lost a brother, so another family (member) gone,” Jameson said.
Channel 4 News cited an unnamed family member and another anonymous source confirming Harith was pictured.
The photograph shows him smiling, dressed in camouflage clothing and appearing to be sitting in a vehicle with wires and switches in the background.
The British government said it could not verify the reports.
“The UK has advised for some time against all travel to Syria, and against all travel to large parts of Iraq. As all UK consular services are suspended in Syria and greatly limited in Iraq, it is extremely difficult to confirm the whereabouts and status of British nationals in these areas,” a spokeswoman said.
Harith, a Muslim convert of Jamaican origin and born Ronald Fiddler, was jailed in Afghanistan by the ruling Taliban because he held a British passport.
After the regime was toppled, he was arrested by US troops in early 2002 and sent to Guantanamo, where he alleged he experienced beatings and degrading treatment.
On returning to Britain in 2004, he was briefly questioned by the police and released without charge.
Harith travelled to Turkey and crossed into Syria in April, 2014, the BBC reported citing Islamic State registration papers.
The following year, his wife Shukee Begum travelled to Syria along with their five children in what she said was an effort to convince her husband to abandon IS.
After being reunited with Harith, she was not allowed to leave IS territory and was smuggled out, she informed.
First Published: Feb 22, 2017 09:01 IST