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Five prisoners die in accident after nearly 70 escape Lebanese jail: report

Five prisoners die in accident after nearly 70 escape Lebanese jail: report
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Five prisoners among the nearly 70 who escaped from a Lebanese detention center Saturday were killed after a car they seized hit a tree, according to Reuters

Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces (ISF) said in a statement that 69 prisoners escaped from a prison facility outside the Lebanese capital of Beirut, although the group did not say how the detainees managed to flee. 

Reuters reported that a security source said the detention center in the Baabda district holds prisoners awaiting trial. 

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In its statement, the ISF said 15 of the prisoners have been caught, and another four turned themselves in. 

Five of the prisoners died and one was injured and taken to a hospital after a stolen car crashed into a tree, ISF told Reuters. 

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has reportedly been briefed on the situation and ordered an intensification of the search for the other escaped prisoners. 

Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA) reported that the prisoners escaped after breaking open their cell doors. 

According to Reuters, riots have recently erupted inside Lebanese jails, and some family members have organized protests over the detainees’ safety amid the spread of COVID-19. 

In September, The Associated Press reported that more than 200 of the 3,000 detainees at Roumieh Prison, Lebanon’s largest prison, had tested positive for the virus. 

According to the AP, several of the prisoners had refused to take preventive measures to protect themselves from the infection due to the belief that contracting the virus would speed up their release. 

As of Saturday, Lebanon has experienced a total of more than 113,000 coronavirus infections, with 884 deaths as a result of the virus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.