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Number Of Gitmo Detainees On Hunger Strike Rises

The interior of a communal cellblock in Camp VI, a prison used to house detainees at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay (file photo)
A U.S. military official says the number of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay on hunger strike has risen again.

Lieutenant Colonel Samuel House said in a statement on April 26 that 97 men are now refusing food, three more than had been said to have been on hunger strike the previous day.

House said 19 of the inmates were receiving liquid nutrients through a nasal tube to prevent dangerous weight loss.

He said another five are under observation at the hospital on the U.S. base in Cuba.

None have life-threatening conditions.

The strike at Guantanamo began in February, when inmates claimed prison officials searched their Korans for contraband.

Officials have denied any mishandling of Islam's holy book.

The United States holds 166 prisoners at Guantanamo, most without charges.

Lawyers for the prisoners say the military is playing down the number of hunger strikers.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP