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U.S. military closes Guantanamo Bay's Camp 7 prison unit

An American Flag is seen through razor wire at Camp 6 in Camp Delta at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI
An American Flag is seen through razor wire at Camp 6 in Camp Delta at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI | License Photo

April 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. military said it has closed a prison facility at the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

U.S. Southern Command said in a statement Sunday all detainees from Camp 7 were transferred to Camp 5 at the Cuban detention facility under its command in a move to increase operational efficiency and effectiveness while reducing operational costs.

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"This adjustment does not compromise force protection, safety or the mission to provide safe, legal and humane care to, and custody of, the detainees" in custody at the Guantanamo facility, U.S. Southern Command spokesman Maj. Gregory J. McElwain said. "This fiscally responsible decision will reduce the detention facility's footprint and will eliminate maintenance requirements and costs incurred by Camp 7."

U.S. Southern Command did not specify how many prisoners were relocated, only that all 40 detainees were now consolidated to two detention facilities on the compound.

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McElwain said the relocation decision involved "all relevant organizations to the intelligence community."

The announcement was made more than a month after Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, told reporters in mid-February the National Security Council has launched a review of the detention facility and that President Joe Biden seeks for it to be shuttered by the time he leaves office.

"That certainly is our goal and our intention," she said.

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McElwain said Camp 7 will be sanitized before being shut down.

"A plan for its final disposition has yet to be determined," he said, The New York Times reported.

Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, then-President George W. Bush issued a military order directing specific non-citizen detainees accused of terrorism-related crimes to be held at Guantanamo Bay, according to the U.S. Congressional Research Service.

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Construction on the facility that could hold about 2,000 prisoners began in early 2002 with its first 300 detainees arriving from facilities in Kandahar, Afghanistan, almost immediately after, it said.

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