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US Guards, Prisoners Clash at Guantanamo


The interior of an unoccupied communal cell block is seen at Camp VI, a prison used to house detainees at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay March 5, 2013.

The interior of an unoccupied communal cell block is seen at Camp VI, a prison used to house detainees at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay March 5, 2013.

U.S. guards at the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba swept through communal cellblocks Saturday, forcing dozens of detainees into one-man cells in an attempt to end a hunger strike that began in February.

A U.S. military spokesman said guards fired four "less-than-lethal rounds," after some detainees resisted the relocation efforts with improvised weapons. In a statement, Navy Captain Robert Durand said there were no serious injuries to guards or detainees.

The confrontation came a day after a team from the International Committee of the Red Cross completed a three-week assessment of prisoner conditions at the facility, which houses scores of enemy combatants captured in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Red Cross declined to comment on the raid, saying no one from its delegation witnessed it.

The hunger strike began after prison guards on February 6 conducted what U.S. officials say was a routine search of detainee belongings. In the search, detainees accused guards of desecrating copies of the Muslim holy book, the Quran, by touching them. U.S. officials said the search was conducted according to procedure and that guards did not touch the holy books.

In March, the U.S. military said it had begun force-feeding some of the protesters.

The Guantanamo facility houses 166 detainees as enemy combatants without trial. The facility has been the subject of longstanding protests by U.S. and international human rights activists.
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