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Gitmo detainee to face trial in federal court in New York

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Justice Department confirms Ahmed Ghailani will be tried in civilian court
  • Ghailani is suspected of taking part in 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa
  • Ghailani will be moved from Guantanamo to be tried in federal court in New York
  • Ghailani was captured in Pakistan in 2004, moved to Guantanamo in 2006
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A terror suspect held at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will be tried on terrorism charges in a U.S. civilian court, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani is shown in a photo posted by the FBI in 2004.

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani is shown in a photo posted by the FBI in 2004.

Ahmed Ghailani, suspected of taking part in al Qaeda plots to bomb U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, among other crimes, would be the first former detainee at the controversial detention center to face trial in the United States.

"By prosecuting Ahmed Ghailani in federal court, we will ensure that he finally answers for his alleged role in the bombing of our embassies in Tanzania and Kenya," said Attorney General Eric Holder.

"This administration is committed to keeping the American people safe and upholding the rule of law, and by closing Guantanamo and bringing terrorists housed there to justice we will make our nation stronger and safer."

Ghailani will be tried in New York, where he has been indicted several times. He was captured in Pakistan in 2004 and transported to Guantanamo in 2006.

In the 1998 bombings, 224 people were killed, including 12 Americans.

Among other alleged crimes, Ghailani is accused of aiding in the purchase of the truck as well as the oxygen and acetylene tanks that were used in the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He is also accused of helping to load explosives onto the truck in the weeks immediately before the bombing, according to the Justice Department.

The announcement Thursday coincides with a speech by President Obama on the detention center and other security issues.

The speech comes as tension is mounting between Congress and the Obama administration over the planned closing of Guantanamo.

The Senate passed a measure Wednesday that would prevent detainees at Guantanamo Bay from being transferred to the United States for now.

The measure passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in a 90-6 vote. A similar amendment has already passed the House. It was attached to a supplemental war funding bill.

Following in the steps of House Democrats, Senate Democrats on Tuesday rejected the administration's request for $80 million to close the Guantanamo facility. They instead asked that Obama first submit a plan spelling out what the administration will do with the prisoners when it closes the detention center.

CNN's Kevin Bohn in Washington contributed to this report.

All About Guantanamo BayU.S. SenateTerrorismCriminal Trials

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