updated 8/19/2009 11:33:49 AM ET 2009-08-19T15:33:49

Lebanese commandos recaptured Wednesday a fugitive from an al-Qaida-inspired group, a day after he fled the country's high-security prison in a spectacular escape.

The army said Taha al-Hajj Suleiman of the Fatah Islam group was caught in the woods in the Bsalim area, just north of the Roumieh prison east of Beirut. An army statement said he was referred to military intelligence for interrogation.

Eight Fatah Islam members on Tuesday staged a dramatic prison break that entailed sawing bars off their cell windows, scaling down the prison building using blankets tied together, and standing on each other's shoulders to jump over a wall.

But only Suleiman escaped while the others were caught by police before they could get over the wall.

Police and army forces subsequently launched a manhunt around the prison to find Suleiman.

Several police officers who were on duty when he escaped were suspended pending an investigation. Authorities also ordered that officers working in Lebanon's prisons would switch from one penitentiary to another after 15 days, while lower ranking policemen would rotate within two months.

Lebanese President Michel Suleiman said any negligence that enabled the escape must be exposed and that strict measures must be taken to prevent such incidents from happening again.

Fatah Islam fought a three-month battle against the army inside the Palestinian refugee camp Nahr el-Bared in northern Lebanon in 2007.

The Lebanese army crushed the group after three months, but the clashes left 220 militants, 171 soldiers and 47 Palestinian civilians dead. Dozens of the group's members were captured.

Suleiman was among those arrested and charged with killing Lebanese troops during the camp fighting. He is also suspected of involvement in other bombings in Lebanon.

Roumieh prison was build four decades ago to house 1,000 prisoners but today has more than 3,000 inmates. It has repeatedly been the scene of riots by prisoners demanding better conditions.

More on: Lebanon

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