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On Tuesday, a Pentagon spokesman said an increasing number of former Guantánamo detainees were taking up arms against the US and its allies, the Associated Press reported. As of December, 61 former prisoners were believed to have rejoined the fight, out of around 520 released or transferred to overseas custody. In 2007, 122 were released, the highest annual total so far.
"There clearly are people who are being held at Guantánamo who are still bent on doing harm to America, Americans, and our allies," [Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell] told reporters at the Pentagon. "So there will have to be some solution for the likes of them, and that is among the thorny issues that the president-elect and his new team are carefully considering."
Morrell said the new numbers showed a "pretty substantial increase" in detainees returning to terror missions — from 7 percent to 11 percent.
He said intelligence, photographs and forensic evidence such as fingerprints and DNA were used to tie the detainees to terror activity. He did not know where they had been released, or what missions they are now believed to have rejoined.
Human rights groups and lawyers for detainees have argued that many Guantánamo prisoners pose no security risk and should be released.
The BBC reports that President-elect Barack Obama is still grappling with the challenge of how and when to close the Guantánamo detention center. He has vowed to honor a campaign pledge and issue an executive order to shutter the facility but acknowledges that the US still needs to figure out where to send released prisoners and a legal process for putting others on trial.