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Detainees flow into Guantanamo

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Thirty-four detainees suspected of being al Qaeda terrorists or Taliban fighters arrived at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, from Afghanistan Monday.

The detainees, the first to arrive in nearly two months, were delivered by military transport plane under extremely tight security and then to the seaside detention camp, Camp Delta.

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The recent arrivals bring the detainee population to 598. Fifty-nine detainees remain at Bagram air base in Afghanistan. Pentagon officials said they plan to eventually move all of them to Guantanamo Bay to free more U.S. troops for the war.

Camp Delta was first occupied April 28 when 300 detainees were transferred from temporary Camp X-Ray, where the detainees were housed starting in January when the first groups arrived.

Upon their arrival, detainees are showered and issued a copy of the Quran and toiletries. They are also given the opportunity to write a letter mailed to whomever they choose.

The United States will not release the names or nationalities of the prisoners, though it is thought there are Saudis, Kuwaitis, Afghans, Pakistanis and Australians among them.

Last month the Pentagon authorized the construction of more than 200 additional cells, expanding the camp to more than 800 cells by October. Pentagon officials have said as many as 2,000 are authorized.

Not all will be filled because military officials say they want to leave some cells empty to prevent the detainees from communicating with one another.

While they were in Camp X-Ray, many detainees gave interrogators similar or erroneous pieces of information, leading military officials to conclude the prisoners were conspiring on what they would say about al Qaeda and Taliban operations.

-- CNN's Mike Mount contributed to this story.



 
 
 
 







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