- The Washington Times - Monday, June 23, 2014

A former Guantanamo detainee has been arrested in Spain for operating a terrorist cell that recruited fighters for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Spanish police said.

Lahcen Ikassrien, a 46-year-old Moroccan, and seven others were arrested in Madrid recently as part of a dozen raids in the Spanish capital, conservative watchdog Judicial Watch reported, based on Spanish news reports.

Ikassrien, who spent four years at Guantanamo, reportedly recruited and sent jihadists to Iraq via Turkey to fight for ISIL, an offshoot of al Qaeda that seeks to establish an Islamic caliphate in the Middle East.

The arrest comes as the Obama administration fields criticism for its decision to release five Taliban operatives in exchange for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

When asked if the Taliban Five posed a threat to Americans, President Obama said, “absolutely.

“That’s been true of all the prisoners that were released from Guantanamo. There’s a certain recidivism rate that takes place,” he said.

The Director of National Intelligence revealed in a report to Congress a few years ago that 150 of the 598 detainees released up to that point were confirmed or suspected of “reengaging in terrorist or insurgent activities after transfer,” Judicial Watch reported.

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