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Construction Under Way to Expand U.S. Military's Prison at Guantanamo

Bulldozers tore at the earth Thursday as construction progressed on a new wing of the U.S. military's prison camp for alleged Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters.

The 204 new cells at Camp Delta should be finished Oct. 1, bringing the number of cells in the seaside compound to 816.

"We're almost up to full capacity," said Brig. Gen. Rick Baccus, commander of the detention mission.

With 598 men in the high-security camp, only 14 cells are empty. Each detainee has an individual cell with running water, sink, simple toilet and a metal bed frame with a foam mattress.

The total construction cost for Camp Delta, including the latest expansion, is $45 million, military officials said.

The prisoners, who have yet to face formal charges, are not being allowed lawyers while they are detained and interrogated in the camp.

The metal frame of a new, permanent hospital for detainees is rising next to the prison. When finished, it will have 116 beds, two isolation rooms for tuberculosis patients, at least one operating room and a physical therapy room, officials said.

Four detainees are being treated at the current tented hospital, said Cmdr. James Radike, a physician. Months of use have taken a toll on the temporary field hospital.

The detainees, who are accused of links to the Al Qaeda terrorist network or Afghanistan's fallen Taliban regime, come from 38 countries, officials said Thursday.