Beirut: Lebanese security officials say five prisoners, most of them members of an al Qaeda-inspired group, have escaped the country`s main jail.
The officials say it is not clear how the four Lebanese and one Sudanese citizen broke out of the heavily-guarded Roumieh prison east of Beirut on Saturday.
Local media say the Lebanese are members of the al Qaeda-inspired Fatah Islam group. The officials have refused to say whether the escaped convicts included Fatah Islam members.
Fatah Islam fought the Lebanese army inside a Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon in the summer of 2007.
The officials say Lebanese troops, backed by an army helicopter, have set up a security cordon around the prison and are searching all cars leaving the area. They spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.