The U.S. military in Iraq says it plans to release between 50 and 80 detainees per day during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
A military statement says the program is a joint venture with the Iraqi government and that the first group of detainees is being freed Thursday.
The statement quotes the commander of the prisoner operations task force Major General Douglas Stone as saying an impartial board will review all detainees eligible for release. He says the process will be fair and completely non-sectarian and non-political.
The U.S. military says it will release only those who are no longer considered to be security threats.
Separately, the U.S. military said Iraqi and American forces carried out raids near the northern town of Taji late Wednesday, destroying a terrorist safe house and detaining 12 suspects.
The military said coalition forces also killed three al-Qaida in Iraq terrorists and detained 80 others in a series of operations in eastern and central parts of the country in the past three days.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.