ISF commandos end revolt in Tripoli prison without violence

Sep 21, 2010

BEIRUT: One man was injured in a riot at a prison in the northern port of Tripoli on Monday, when inmates took security guards captive in a demand for reduced sentences. The guards were released after intervention by security forces.

“At 11:15 am about 20 prisoners, led by the inmate Adel Zamrawi, one of the biggest criminals in the prison, took seven hostages including five [guards], one computer teacher and a janitor,” a security source told The Daily Star. The source spoke anonymously in line with military regulations.

The riot started while prison guards were conducting a routine check-up at Qobbeh Prison, north Lebanon’s largest correctional institute and home to roughly 600 inmates.

The source confirmed that the guards were not armed during the ambush and the rioters issued a set of demands as security forces closed in.

“Security forces took all measures necessary to seal off parts of the prison using barricades usually used to keep rioters in one area,” the source said. “Members of the Internal Security Forces (ISF) in Tripoli were also deployed and cordoned-off the prison to prevent any inmate from using the chaos to escape.”

At around 12:15 pm, Zamrawi issued his demands to ISF General Bassam al-Ayoubi, who acted on behalf of Commander Ashraf Rifi. The inmate asked that guards improve conditions within Qobbeh Prison and announced he was seeking a reduced sentence.

“These are general demands that usually get a lot of response from inmates,” the source said.

In a daring rescue attempt, ISF commandoes entered the prison through secret doors, and managed to successfully avoid using violence in freeing the seven captive men.

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