Lebanon's state run news agency says three members of an al-Qaida-inspired group have escaped from a prison in eastern Beirut.

It was not immediately clear how or when they managed to stage the getaway from the high-security Roumieh prison.

The National News Agency identified the men as a Palestinian, a Syrian and an Algerian. It said they are members of the militant Fatah Islam group, which fought the army inside a Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon in the summer of 2007.

A senior police official confirmed Friday's escape but declined to give details.

Several Fatah Islam members have escaped Roumieh over the past two years by scaling down the prison's walls using sheets tied together.