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Massive manhunt underway for escaped inmate known as ‘The Fly’ after police officers killed in prison van attack in France

A massive manhunt was underway in France on Wednesday for armed attackers who ambushed a prison convoy, killing two prison guards, seriously injuring three other people and causing the inmate they were escorting to spring. The prime minister vowed the gang would be arrested, saying: “They will pay.”

“We are tracking you, we will find you and we will punish you,” Prime Minister Gabriel Attal declared in Parliament, to the applause of deputies. “They will pay for what they did.”

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said “unprecedented” efforts were being made. Hundreds of police officers were mobilized to search for the escapee, Mohamed Amra, and the attackers who were waiting for the prison van transporting him, ramming a car into it before opening fire on Tuesday.

International police agency Interpol announced on Wednesday that it had issued a red notice at the request of France for the arrest of Amra, 30.

A screenshot of a CCTV video shows a person aiming armed men wearing balaclavas ambushing a prison van to free a drug trafficker in Val-de-Reuil, France, May 14, 2024.

Document via REUTERS

“A red notice has been issued at the request of French authorities regarding escapee Mohamed Amra, alias ‘The Fly’,” Interpol said. A Red Notice is a request to law enforcement agencies around the world to locate and arrest a wanted person.

The notice states that Amra is approximately 6 feet tall, has wavy brown hair, dark brown eyes and a beard.

The violence of the attack shocked France. Prison staff observed moments of silence in front of prisons in Paris and elsewhere on Wednesday to commemorate the killed police officers.

Darmanin, speaking on RTL radio on Wednesday, expressed hope that Amra could be arrested “in the coming days.” Without giving full details of the scale of the manhunt, he said 450 officers had been deployed to the area of ​​the attack in Normandy, northern France, to search for the attackers and obtain information. clues to their location.

“The means employed are considerable,” he declared. “We are making a lot of progress.”

The attack appears to have been carefully planned. The convoy was transporting Amra to Évreux prison, in Normandy, after an interview with an investigator in Rouen, when it was ambushed on the A154 motorway.

The prison van and another prison escort vehicle had just passed a toll booth on the highway when the van was hit head-on by a car. The Paris prosecutor’s office said the car had been stolen and had passed through the toll a few minutes before the prison convoy, then waited there.

Another car followed the convoy, appearing to box it in. The attackers jumped out of the cars and opened fire, spraying the prison vehicles, said Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau.

The attackers and Amra then fled. Two burned cars were later found and investigators are examining, Beccuau said.

One of the officers killed was a 52-year-old captain in the prison service, where he had worked for nearly 30 years, and father of two children, Beccuau said. The other police officer killed, aged 34, was a future married father, she said.

Amra, 30, has a long criminal record, with at least 13 convictions for theft and other crimes, the first when he was just 15, she said.

Escaped convict has history of violent crimes

Amra has a long history of convictions for violent crimes that began when he was just 15 years old, according to court sources.

The 30-year-old inmate from Rouen, northwest France, nicknamed “La Mouche,” remained on the run Wednesday, a day after suspected accomplices killed two prison officers at a toll booth and run away with him.

Undated photo of French detainee Mohamed Amra, 30, also known as ‘La Mouche’, who was freed by accomplices in a deadly attack in a French prison van on May 14, 2024, which left two dead and three injured guards.

Document via REUTERS

Three other prison guards were injured in the attack, one of whom fought to survive.

“He is very well known to the justice system,” Paris Attorney General Laure Beccuau told the press.

Amra has close ties to organized crime, said another source familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified, and is suspected of ordering killings linked to drug trafficking.

Another source who asked to remain anonymous said Amra ran his own drug trafficking network.

However, none of his 13 previous convictions – for crimes ranging from armed robbery to extortion – were directly linked to drug trafficking, said Beccuau, who is leading the investigation into the highway attack. .

He was incarcerated in January 2022 at Evreux prison, in the northwest of Normandy, to serve several sentences, including for criminal conspiracy, extortion, theft, armed violence and participation in an illegal automobile rodeo.

The latest conviction for robbery was handed down last week.

At the time of his escape, he was also facing two new charges, one for attempted murder and the other for participation in an organized killing in the southern French Riviera city of Marseille, a trafficking hub. drugs and gang violence.

AFP contributed to this report.

News Source : www.cbsnews.com
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