| 20.08,09. 01:53 PM |
Lebanese Army Recaptures Fatah Islam Fugitive
Lebanese troops re-arrested Wednesday Fatah al-Islam fugitive after one day on the run as reports said Lebanese intelligence had warned the interior ministry that a plot was being prepared at Roumieh jail five days before the breakout took place.
Local media said Taha Ahmad Haji Suleiman, who has dual Syrian and Palestinian nationality, was arrested in the outskirts of Bsalim near Roumieh prison. No other details were given.
Press reports had said the slackening in measures led to the use of the Koran as means to smuggle sharp tools that facilitated the breakout by eight Fatah Islam convicts early Tuesday.
Meanwhile, examining magistrate Saqr Saqr ordered the arrest of eight ISF officers and soldiers, who worked in Roumieh, on charges of "negligence and failure to perform duty," the National News Agency reported.
Security forces succeeded in thwarting the escape attempt and re-arrested seven prisoners. Only one inmate, however, managed to stay on the run.
As-Safir daily wondered how the prisoners managed to saw bars off their cell windows over a period of nearly two weeks.
"Or are there collaborators from within the prison?" As-Safir asked. "If true, this is a disaster."
As-Safir quoted well-informed security sources as saying that they tend to believe that the group which attempted to break out from Roumieh prison had coordinated its escape with someone outside the jail.
The eight members of the al-Qaida-inspired Fatah al-Islam group sawed bars off their cell windows, scaled down the building using blankets tied together, then stood on each other's shoulders to help one jump over a wall and escape.
Ad-Diyar newspaper said Wednesday that Army Commander Gen. Jean Qahwaji had called both the interior ministry and Police Chief Gen. Ashraf Rifi three days ago to warn them that the military command has obtained information of the "possibility that something could happen at Roumieh prison."
A police officer quoted by daily Al-Akhbar, however, denied that the Internal Security Forces command had been tipped off by Lebanese intelligence a week before the attempted escape took place.
On the other hand, The March 14 general-secretariat slammed on Wednesday Hizbullah and its ally Free Patriotic Movement leader Gen. Michel Aoun for the latest escalation of words.
The coalition said following its weekly meeting that Hizbullah had agreed on the 15-10-5 formula with Aoun's consent, adding that the Shiite party had shown readiness to deal with any problem on the matter.
Aoun's demands for a key ministry are nothing but an attempt to weaken the president, the statement said.
"Therefore, the March 14 forces believe that MP Aoun's latest escalation couldn't have happened without Hizbullah consent," it added.
The alliance reiterated its support for PM-designate Saad Hariri in his efforts to form a coalition government and called for the quick distribution of portfolios.
"The authority in the cabinet issue is the Constitution which clearly indicates the premier-designate's powers," the statement added.