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Lebanon: Five fugitives die in car chase after mass prison break near Beirut

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Five fugitive prisoners were killed following a police car chase after almost 70 inmates broke out of a prison in Baabda, just outside Beirut, on Saturday.

According to the police, the prisoners died after crashing their car while driving at high speed although one man with relatives in prison disputed this narrative.

“Had they not agreed with the guards and officers, they would not be able to escape. Then when the prisoners ran outside and got into the car, they were shot and killed, five of them,” he alleged, after questioning how so many inmates could escape without inside help.

“They did not die in a car accident. A car accident of that sort doesn’t kill such a number,” he explained.

“The truth is that what happened today is a new catastrophe and a new massacre, of which we had previously warned after the port issue. We warned that the prison issue could explode anytime. But no one cared,” explained Sheikh Damar Al-Miqdad, the head of a pressure group seeking a general amnesty for inmates amid the pandemic.

In a statement released earlier during the day, the Internal Security Forces (ISF), Lebanon’s national police service, had initially specified that 69 people were thought to have escaped, several of whom were described as ‘dangerous.’

In the evening, police specified that 39 fugitives were still on the run, after 29 others were arrested.

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