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US Transfers Yemeni Guantanamo Bay Detainee to Montenegro

FILE - The sun rises over the Guantanamo detention facility at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba.

The U.S. military has announced the transfer of a Yemeni man from its detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Montenegro.

The transfer of Abdel Malik Ahmed Abdel Wahab Al Rahabi leaves 79 people detained at Guantanamo where nearly 800 people have been held at some point since it opened in early 2002.

Pentagon documents describe Al Rahabi as a member of al-Qaida who was once a bodyguard to the group's late leader Osama bin Laden and took part in fighting against U.S. and coalition forces. He was captured in December 2001 by Pakistani forces as he tried to cross the border from Afghanistan and arrived at Guantanamo a month later.

A review board determined in 2014 that Al Rahabi's detention was no longer necessary to protect against a significant threat to the United States, and recommended he be transferred.

The Pentagon thanked Montenegro in a statement Wednesday "for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility."

President Barack Obama made closing the site one of his goals when he took office in 2009, but with the end of his term seven months away that appears unlikely.