U.S. military officials say the number of prisoners on a hunger strike at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has more than doubled during the past few days.

A military spokesman Thursday said 46 detainees at the facility have joined the hunger strike since December 25. Before the Christian holiday of Christmas, 38 people were fasting.

Prisoners began the hunger strikes in August to protest their detention without charges or trial.

Officials say some fasting prisoners are being force-fed by medical personnel.

The U.S. military says it is holding some 500 enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay. Most of the prisoners were captured in Afghanistan, and are suspected of having ties to al-Qaida or the former Taleban regime.

U.S. officials say the prisoners are being treated humanely, and that since they are enemy combatants and not prisoners of war, they are not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Convention.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.