Hezbollah cell escapes Egyptian prison

Members of a cell belonging to the Hezbollah and convicted of plotting attacks in Egypt were among the escapees in a weekend prison break, a security official told AFP Thursday.

The 22 cell members fled on Sunday along with members of Palestinian group Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and thousands of other convicts during a mass breakout amid anti-government protests in Egypt.

The Hezbollah members escaped from Wadi Natrun north of Cairo after guards abandoned their posts.

Last April a Cairo court handed down stiff prison sentences to 26 people in connection with a plot to carry out attacks on the Suez Canal and Sinai resorts. Four were sentenced in absentia.

In a handwritten letter obtained by AFP, the defendants -- most of whom had been detained between late 2008 and January 2009 -- said they never planned attacks in Egypt.

-AFP/NOW Lebanon

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