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Security 'well at hand' at Camp X-ray

U.S. Air Force personnel check over a C-141 after it arrived at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Friday.


(CNN) - The head of the new U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, said Saturday that his troops had the security situation "well in hand" as the first group of al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners spent their first full day at the compound.

Twenty detainees arrived Friday at "Camp X-ray," the temporary temporary detention center where they will be held until a permanent facility is completed. They arrived under heavy security.

Army Col. Terry Carrico -- known as the "warden" of Camp X-ray, the detention center -- said the camp inmates carried on some conversation after their arrival from Afghanistan Friday afternoon, but were "very fatigued." For the most part, they slept the night through, he said.

The prisoners are staying in individual 6-by-8-foot "cells" with a chain-link fence perimeter, a concrete floor and a wooden roof, but are otherwise open to the elements. The military has sprayed the entire complex with mosquito spray.

The detainees will have a foam-rubber sleeping mat and two towels -- one for bathing and another for a prayer mat, according to a military spokesman. They also will receive a bar of soap, a squeeze bottle of shampoo, a toothbrush and toothpaste and flip-flop sandals for showers. They will also be given a copy of the Koran, Carrico said.

U.S. officials said the Red Cross would be allowed to inspect the camp as soon as they arrive.

Carrico called the first batch of prisoners a test run, which he said went very well.

Security officials said Camp X-ray is currently ready to hold about 100 prisoners and is gearing up to a capacity of up to 2,000. (Full story)

Meanwhile, investigators have recovered five of seven bodies of U.S. Marines killed Wednesday when their KC-130 military refueling plane crashed in western Pakistan. The recovery operation is continuing, and Marines are hopeful they will recover the remaining bodies, military officials in Kandahar, Afghanistan, said Saturday. (Full story)

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Latest developments

• U.S. officials told the British Foreign Office that a British national is among the Afghan war detainees being held at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a spokesman for the London-based office said Saturday. British officials said they are trying to verify the man's identity.

• Another 30 al Qaeda and Taliban captives arrived Saturday at the U.S. military base at Kandahar International Airport. The development brings the number of detainees now being held at the southern Afghanistan site to 391. Military officials said 445 detainees are being held across the region.

• U.S. military personnel have extended the length of the runway at Kandahar International Airport, where several thousand U.S. Marines and Army soldiers are base, to 6,000 feet, plus 1,000 of overrun. Larger U.S. aircraft, such as C-141 transport planes, can now fly into and out of the facility.

• A statue based on a famous photograph of firefighters raising a U.S. flag at Ground Zero has drawn criticism from some firefighters and their families, who call the sculpture an attempt to rewrite history and political correctness run amok. In the statue, the three white firefighters in the photo have been transformed into one white, one black and one Hispanic.(Full story)

• U.S.-led airstrikes continued Saturday targeting the Zawar Kili Camp near Khowst, Afghanistan. The camp is a suspected hideout for al Qaeda and Taliban fighters. B-52s and other bombers dropped aser-guided bombs in the strikes.

• The interim government in Afghanistan needs immediate funds and a "robust, multinational military force" to survive, chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee said in Kabul on Saturday. "This interim government needs an infusion of a modest amount of capital in days, not weeks, not months," said Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Delaware. (Full story)

• In a rare moment of synergy on money matters, Democrats and President Bush used their weekly radio addresses Saturday to call for an end to partisan bickering over the budget, which both said should concentrate on security and economic issues. (Full story)

• The Singapore government has released a chilling videotape it says shows details of a planned attack by a broken terrorist cell on U.S. military targets in the city-state. (Full story)

• Senator Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, will call on Congress to delay implementing last year's $1.35 trillion dollar tax cut -- an initiative spearheaded by President Bush -- a senior Democratic aide on Capitol Hill told CNN. The decision, which will be announced in a speech Wednesday, aims to give the government an additional $350 billion to spend in a economy still sluggish after September 11. (Full story)

• Authorities charged an Egyptian man with lying to the FBI about his knowledge of aviation radios, one of which we allegedly had while staying at a hotel facing the World Trade Center on September 11. (Full story)



 
 
 
 



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