- - Wednesday, July 11, 2012

KHARTOUM — Osama bin Laden’s cook, who spent a decade as a prisoner in the U.S. detention facility for militants at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, returned Wednesday to his native Sudan after completing a shortened sentence for aiding al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Ibrahim al-Qosi was getting reacquainted with his wife and two daughters and other family members and will spend some time in a government-sponsored reintegration program in the capital, Khartoum, before returning to his hometown, his attorney, Paul Reichler, said.

Mr. Al-Qosi, who recently turned 52, had not seen his family since he was captured and sent to the U.S. base in Cuba in early 2002. His release brings the prison population down to 168. Mr. al-Qosi admitted serving food and providing other services at a militant camp. He was among the first prisoners taken to Guantanamo Bay.

The Pentagon and state-run media in Sudan confirmed Mr. al-Qosi’s release.


MALI

Islamists raze tombs at ancient mosque

BAMAKO — The Islamists controlling northern Mali destroyed two tombs Tuesday at the ancient Djingareyber mosque in fabled Timbuktu and vowed to destroy all World Heritage sites in the region.

Armed with hoes and pickaxes, members of the Islamist Ansar Dine hammered away at the two earthen tombs until they were destroyed, witnesses told Agence France-Presse.

“Currently, the Islamists are busy destroying two tombs of Timbuktu’s great Djingareyber mosque. They are shooting in the air to chase away the crowd, to scare them,” one witness said as the rampage began.

“The two mausolea are adjacent to the western wall of the great mosque, and the Islamists have hoes, chisels. They are hitting the mausolea, which are made out of packed earth,” said a source close to the mosque’s imam.

Another witness reported that the Islamists had cried “Allahu akbar” (God is great) as they hammered away at the mosque, one of the most important in Timbuktu.

KENYA

Police: Iranians shipped 220 pounds of explosives

NAIROBI — Two Iranians accused of planning attacks on Western targets in Kenya shipped more than 220 pounds of a powerful explosive into this East African country, and most of it has not been recovered, a police officer told a court Tuesday.

Iranian nationals Ahmad Abolfathi Mohammad and Sayed Mansour Mousavi were charged with preparing to commit acts intended to cause grievous harm after they were arrested last month and led officials to a 33-pound stash of the explosive RDX.

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