France prison van attack: Inmate Mohamed Amra on the run after guards killed in ambush

by 24britishtvMay 14, 2024, 8:01 p.m. 24

Hundreds of police are hunting armed men who attacked a prison van in France - with a convict nicknamed "The Fly" escaping.

Two prison officers were shot dead and three others seriously injured during the ambush on a motorway in Incarville, Normandy, on Tuesday morning.

Justice minister Eric Dupond-Moretti said one of the officers leaves behind a pregnant wife, while the other was a 21-year-old father-of-two.

He said two of the injured guards were in a critical condition.

The officers were transporting Mohamed Amra, 30, when they came under heavy fire, said the Paris prosecutor's office.

Footage captured a black car driving into the front of a white van, with other video showing two armed men patrolling near a tollbooth on the A154 motorway.

Four armed men used two vehicles to target the van just after 11am, according to Le Parisien.

Yvon Barbier, a retired cattle farmer whose land backs onto the motorway, told Sky News he heard "maybe 30 or 40 really loud gunshots".

"At first we thought it might be a robbery - that has happened in the past at toll booths if people try and steal cash - but it wasn't that," he said.

"It was so loud, and we didn't dare go and check the cattle as I didn't want to get shot... What could those guards do? They had pistols and the other guys had big, serious weapons."

Amra had recently been sentenced to 18 months for burglary in the suburbs of Evreux, northwest France, reported BFM TV.

The French broadcaster said his nickname was La Mouche - or "The Fly" in English.

Police sources said Amra was involved in international drug dealing, a suspect in a kidnap and murder case in Marseille, and had ties to the city's powerful "Blacks" gang.

The ambush happened when he was being transported between Val de Reuil prison and a Rouen court, said Mr Dupond-Moretti.

Who is 'The Fly'?

A prison source told Le Parisien that Amra tried to saw the bars off his cell a few days ago - with the convict reportedly put in solitary confinement afterwards.

The publication said he was also re-evaluated as 'Escort 3' risk category, making more guards necessary during transportation.

Gerald Darmanin, France's interior minister, said "several hundred police officers" were now hunting Amra and the gunmen.

Read more from Sky News:

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French President Emmanuel Macron wrote on X: "This morning's attack, which cost the lives of prison officers, is a shock to us all.

"The Nation stands alongside the families, the injured and their colleagues.

"Everything is being done to find the perpetrators of this crime so that justice can be done in the name of the French people. We will be intractable."

"Everything, I mean everything, will be done to find the perpetrators of this despicable crime," added justice minister Eric Dupond-Moretti.

"These are people for whom life weighs nothing. They will be arrested, they will be judged, and they will be punished according to the crime they committed."


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