A former Guantanamo Bay detainee who was awarded more than $1 million in compensation after he was freed from the detention camp reportedly attacked this week an army base in Iraq. Ronald Fiddler, who later took the name Jamal Udeen al-Harith after converting to Islam in the 1990s, was freed from Guantanamo Bay in 2004 with help from then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Harith, a 50-year-old British citizen, was identified as the suicide bomber after ISIS released a picture of him following the attack. ISIS claimed he killed multiple people in the small village of Abu Saif near the Mosul Airport, but the attack was not confirmed.
His brother, Leon Jameson, told reporters his brother had “wasted his life.” “It is him, I can tell by his smile,” he said of the ISIS image. “If it is true then I’ve lost a brother."
Harith joined the Islamic State in Syria in 2014, and it was unclear whether he used his $1 million award to help the group carry out its terror attacks. He was held in Guantanamo Bay for having alleged links to Osama bin Laden and claimed the British government faciliated his detainment and knew that he was being tortured by the U.S.
Harith's journey to jihad is long and complicated. He was born in Manchester. After he traveled to Pakistan in October 2001 for a religious retreat, he was later captured by the Taliban, who accused him of being a British spy.
Blair, the former Labour Party prime minister, defended his government's decision to petition for Harith's eventual release, USA Today reported. Harith won the settlement in 2010, after Blair was no longer in power.
"It is correct that Jamal al-Harith was released from Guantanamo Bay at the request of the British Government in 2004," the statement said. "He was not paid compensation by my Government. The compensation was agreed in 2010 by the Conservative Government. The fact is that this was always a very difficult situation where any Government would have to balance proper concern for civil liberties with desire to protect our security, and we were likely to be attacked whatever course we took."
The suicide bombing came as Iraqi forces working with the Defense Department pushed to remove ISIS from Mosul. ISIS captured Iraq’s second-biggest city in 2014.