CAIRO (Reuters) – A member of the Lebanese group Hezbollah jailed in Egypt for planning attacks in the country has escaped from prison, Egyptian security sources said on Thursday.
Sami Chehab, sentenced last April to 15 years in prison, escaped on Sunday, they said. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has previously said Chehab was a member of a Hezbollah cell that was working to smuggle weapons through Egypt to the Gaza Strip.
Sources close to Chehab’s family said he had already left Egypt.
The emergency state security court sentenced Chehab as part of a group of 26 men charged with planning attacks in Egypt. The case underscored Egyptian concern about what it sees as the destabilizing influence of Shi’ite Iran, Hezbollah’s main sponsor.
A number of prominent prisoners have escaped from Egyptian jails over the last week as law and order collapsed when mass protests against President Hosni Mubarak began and police were temporarily withdrawn from the streets.