Five Guantánamo Bay prisoners released

Five Yemeni men were released from Guantánamo Bay Wednesday night, bringing the number of detainees in the U.S. detention camp in Cuba down to 122.

Four of the men went to Oman — Al Khadr Abdallah, Muhammad Al Yafi, Fadel Hussein Saleh Hentif, Al-Rahman Abdullah Au Ahabati and Mohammed Ahmed Salam — while Akhmed Abdul Qadir was transferred to Estonia.

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The announcement marks the first time both countries accepted former Guantánamo prisoners for resettlement. 

All five transfers were captured in Pakistan and detained by the U.S. as suspected al Qaeda fighters. According to a statement from the Pentagon, the men had been cleared for release since 2009.

"The United States is grateful to the Government of Oman for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The United States coordinated with the Government of Oman to ensure these transfers took place consistent with appropriate security and humane treatment measures," the Department of Defense said in a statement.

President Obama has advanced efforts to close the controversial detention facility, which has been blocked by Congress. Both the House and the Senate have voted to keep it open.