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Guantanamo could take two dozen new inmates: US admiral

© AFP/File | US military officials have been openly discussing the fate of Islamic State group detainees, mainly foreign fighters, held by US-backed militias in northern Syria

WASHINGTON (AFP) - 

The Guantanamo Bay detention center could easily accommodate "a couple dozen" more inmates should the Trump administration decide to send new prisoners to the much-maligned facility, a top US officer said Monday.

Admiral Kurt Tidd, who oversees the military's Southern Command that includes Guantanamo, told Pentagon reporters there is enough staffing and infrastructure in place to increase the prison population from its current number of 41.

"Without any additional resources, probably a couple dozen, but beyond that we would need to increase the size of the guard force," he said, noting that no decision had been made to send more detainees.

President Donald Trump in January signed an executive order reversing his predecessor Barack Obama's ultimately fruitless 2009 directive to shutter the US prison center.

Guantanamo has not received any new inmates since 2008 but on the campaign trail, Trump vowed to load the facility with "bad dudes," and said it would be "fine" if US terror suspects were sent there for trial.

During his State of the Union speech in January, Trump said Islamic State captives would in "many cases" end up at Guantanamo.

US military officials have been openly discussing the fate of IS detainees, mainly foreign fighters, held by US-backed militias in northern Syria.

© 2018 AFP