More Guantanamo inmates tied to militant groups: Pentagon
Washington: An increasing number of detainees transferred from the US prison in Guantanamo have forged links to militant groups, the Pentagon has said.
The precise number remained classified but was in keeping with a previous Defence Department report in April that said 14 percent of former inmates had engaged in or were suspected of having ties to militants, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said.
"I can't give you the numbers, other than to say that I do not believe that trend has reversed itself," Morrell told a news conference.
Human rights groups have dismissed the Pentagon's numbers as propaganda, saying the information was too vague and that most of the detainees that had allegedly "returned to the fight" were not identified.
The April report showed an increase from 11 to 14 percent in what the Pentagon calls the recidivism rate for detainees transferred out of the prison at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The issue has taken on heightened importance after a failed attack on a US airliner on Christmas Day was tied to al Qaeda's branch in Yemen, where two former Guantanamo detainees are believed to be acting as senior leaders, including Said Ali al-Shihri.
President Barack Obama on Tuesday suspended transfers of Guantanamo detainees to Yemen following the Christmas Day incident.