(photo credit: AP)
Pakistani police said Monday that a recently detained terror suspect is the same Swedish national once held by the US at Guantanamo Bay, and that he was trying to connect with al-Qaida operatives.
Dera Ghazi Khan police chief Mohammad Rizwan told AP that authorities made the determination after interrogating the man, Mehdi-Muhammed Ghezali.
"I do confirm that he is the same person. He is a very dangerous man," Rizwan said.
Ghezali was arrested on the outskirts of Dera Ghazi Khan, a southern Pakistani town, on Aug. 28 along with a group of foreigners, including seven Turks and three other Swedes who lacked the proper immigration stamp.
A Swedish man with the same name was arrested in Pakistan in 2001 and held for two years at the US prison in Cuba. The US released him in 2004. The suspect has denied ties to al-Qaida.
A police report obtained by AP says that the detained group planned to travel to North Waziristan, one of Pakistan's lawless, militant-riddled tribal areas along the Afghan border, to join al-Kaida operatives hiding there.
Sweden confirmed Saturday that three of its citizens were arrested in August by Pakistani police, but that at the time police had not provided their identities to Swedish authorities.
Though many of those held at Guantanamo Bay have been released and left the public eye, some are known to have joined or rejoined militant movements despite attempts in some countries to rehabilitate them.