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69 inmates break out of Lebanese prison; 5 die later in car crash

69 inmates break out of Lebanese prison; 5 die later in car crash
Lebanese police stand guard outside a detention center after dozens of prisoners escaped Saturday in Baabda, east of Beirut, Lebanon. Photo by Wael Hamzeh/EPA-EFE

Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Sixty-nine inmates broke out of a Lebanese prison Saturday and five of them later died in a car crash, security forces said.

Inmates escaped around dawn from the prison in Baabda, a suburb of Lebanon's capital Beirut.

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The Internal Security Forces said prisoners broke down the doors of their cells, and inmates, outnumbering security officials, were able to lock some guards in cells prior to fleeing, The Daily Star reported.

Prosecutor Ghada Aoun ordered a probe into the prison break.

Five died and one was injured after escapees stole a car and crashed into a tree. The injured inmate was being treated at a hospital, according to the ISF.

The crash occurred during a police pursuit, Lebanese news channel OTV reported.

The ISF posted some pictures of the fugitives on Twitter.

Forty-four prisoners were at large, 15 were rearrested and four turned themselves in, the ISF reported.

In April, Amnesty International said the country had riots inside prisons and protests calling for immediate release of prisoners amid growing concern related to the spread of COVID-19.

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