10 ISF personnel freed after Lebanon prison riot

BEIRUT: A two-hour riot at the terrorism unit of Lebanon’s notorious Roumieh prison ended Friday with 17 people wounded and the freeing of 10 Internal Security Forces personnel taken hostage by prisoners.

Four security personnel and 13 inmates were wounded in the riot, security sources said.

Lebanon’s prison commander, Col. Amer Zaylaa, said the hostages – an ISF lieutenant and nine soldiers – were freed at 8:50 a.m. nearly two hours after the riot began.

“The hostages were freed in a unique operation carried out by an [Internal Security Forces] special Panthers unit and a Rapid Intervention squad,” Zaylaa told The Daily Star.

Four ISF members were wounded in a confrontation with inmates before the prisoners, all members of Fatah al-Islam, took the 10 personnel hostage, a security source, who spoke to The Daily Star on condition of anonymity, said.

Three of the wounded officers are personnel from the Panthers unit, and one is from the Rapid Intervention unit. They were taken to Abu Jawdeh hospital for treatment.

The source said 13 inmates – all Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian members of Fatah al-Islam – were also wounded in the mutiny that broke out around 7 a.m. at Roumieh Prison’s terrorism unit as Lebanese Army soldiers were conducting a prison search after being tipped off about a major escape plan.

ISF personnel were taken by surprise when the rioters attacked them with sticks, wounding four of them, according to the source.

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