Abdul Shalabi's transfer from Guantanamo is the second announced in less than a week
That leaves 114 detainees at the U.S. naval base on the eastern tip of Cuba
Abdul Shalabi, a Guantanamo Bay detainee who was once thought to have been a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, has been transferred to Saudi Arabia, the U.S. Defense Department announced on Tuesday.
Shalabi’s transfer from Guantanamo was the second announced in less than a week, leaving 114 detainees at the naval base that the Obama administration is pushing to close.
“The United States is grateful to the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The United States coordinated with the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to ensure this transfer took place consistent with appropriate security and humane treatment measures,” the Defense Department said in a statement.
It announced last week that Younis Abdurrahman Chekkouri had been transferred to Morocco.
The remaining 114 detainees being held at Guantanamo fall into two categories: Those who can be transferred to other countries and those who the United States must continue to hold.
In August, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said that Pentagon teams were looking at U.S. sites to house the detainees.
Closing the military detention facility at the U.S. naval base on Cuba was among Obama’s 2008 campaign pledges, but he’s run into stiff opposition in Congress, particularly from Republicans who say moving terror suspects onto U.S. soil would pose unnecessary security risks.
CNN’s Ross Levitt and Eric Bradner contributed to this report.