A pro-ISIS propaganda video released Thursday that celebrates the massacre in Brussels is linked to Moez Bin Abdul Qadir Fezzani, aka "Abu Nassim," a detainee released by the Obama administration to Italian custody in December 2009.
Al-Battar Media, responsible for producing the video, is reported to be the media arm of the Kalibat al-Battar al-Libi, an elite Libyan-based ISIS unit with ties to the Islamists responsible for the Paris and Brussels attacks. Al-Battar is headed by Fezzani, an intelligence source tells the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT).
Confusion reigns over where he was held because U.S. and Italian media reports suggest he was held in Guantanamo Bay. However, U.S. government records suggest he was released to Italian custody from a U.S. detention facility in Bagram, Afghanistan. Fezzani used several aliases, which adds to the uncertainty.
A court in Milan tried and ultimately acquitted Fezzani in March 2012 for his alleged involvement in jihadist activities prior to his initial capture in Afghanistan 2001.
Upon his return to Tunisia, Fezzani joined the Al-Qaida linked Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia, which has been involved in a jihadist insurgency against the country's government in the wake of the Arab Spring. A year later, in 2013, Fezzani traveled to Syria to fight under the banner of Al-Qaida's Syrian affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra. He then went to Libya in 2014 where he became a leader of the Kalibat al-Battar militia, which ISIS's elite special forces unit.
Tunisia's Department of the Interior issued an arrest warrant for Fezzani on Feb. 8. He is suspected to have been involved in the planning of last year's ISIS attacks in Sousse and at Tunis' Bardo museum.
"If the information on Fezzani proves to be true, it is very disturbing. Just like the head of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, this was a man we had in our detention facility and let go," terrorism analyst Dr. Sebastian Gorka, who teaches at the Marine Corps University, told the IPT. "More and more it seems that the administration, and their counterparts in Europe, do not understand that the ideologues of global jihadism are far more important than the operational commanders of individual cells or organizations."