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U.S. Transfers Four Guantanamo Detainees To Saudi Arabia, Says More Likely

Presdient Barack Obama had vowed to close the United States' Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba (file photo)

Four Yemeni detainees from Guantanamo Bay arrived in Saudi Arabia on January 5, news agencies reported, with the White House saying additional transfers are likely before President Barack Obama leaves office later this month.

Reuters and AFP reported that the detainees arrived at a Riyadh airport after being released from the U.S. naval base in Cuba that Obama vowed to close when he came into office.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in Washington on January 5 that there will likely be more transfers "between now and January 20," Obama's last day in office.

The move comes despite calls by President-elect Donald Trump to halt the releases from Guantanamo, where around 40 detainees remain.

The facility gained notoriety over allegations that suspected terrorists detained there were tortured, and Obama has called the prison a "recruiting tool" for terrorists.

The Obama administration decided to send the Yemenis to Saudi Araba instead of their homeland, which is engulfed in civil war and where Al-Qaeda is active.

Yemenis previously released from Guantanamo into Saudi custody have undergone rehabilitation programs there aimed at integrating them back into society.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP