A group of detainees kneels during early morning prayer in the camp at the US military prison for "enemy combatants" on Oct. 28, 2009 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Credit: John Moore

The United States intends to send two Guantanamo Bay detainees back to Algeria, the White House said on Friday.

"As the president has said, the United States remains determined to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay," White House press secretary Jay Carney said. The repatriation of the two detainees — the first releases this year — are "in support of those efforts."

"We are taking this step in consultation with the Congress, and in a responsible manner that protects our national security," he added.

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The most recent repatriations outside of the west were in 2010, when another two Algerians were sent home. Two Uyghurs, or Chinese Muslims, were also released to El Salvador in 2012, and Canadian national Omar Khadr was returned to his country in September 2012, where he finished the remainder of his sentence.

"We continue to call on Congress to join us in supporting these efforts by lifting the current restrictions that significantly limit our ability to transfer detainees out of Guantanamo, even those who have been approved for transfer," Carney said.

President Barack Obama has recently been under scrutiny for allowing hunger-striking detainees at the notorious Cuban prison to be force-fed.

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