Obama vows new push to close Guantanamo amid hunger strike

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Barack Obama vowed on Tuesday to make a renewed attempt to close the Guantanamo Bay military prison, amid a hunger strike by suspected terrorist detainees.

Mr Obama told a White House news conference he did not want any prisoners to die and called on Congress to help him find a long-term legal solution to the problem of prosecuting enemy combatants.

"It needs to be closed," he said. "I'm going to go back at this." However, he offered no new path to removing congressional, political and legal hurdles he faces.

Mr Obama failed to make good on his promise to close the internationally condemned prison at the US military base in Cuba, which was opened by his predecessor George W. Bush to house foreign terrorism suspects, within a year of taking office in early 2009.

Guantanamo has drawn new attention amid a hunger strike by many of the prisoners, some of whom are being force-fed.