France prison van ambush: Manhunt launched after militarized gang kills two guards to free convict

Hundreds of French police launched a manhunt after a gang ambushed prison guards, killing two of them, and freed a convict.

The ambush occurred during broad daylight, with the gunmen freeing drug boss Mohamed Amra, nicknamed “The Fly,” killing two officers and seriously injuring three others in the process. Videos showed the gunmen armed with assault rifles and dressed in tactical gear, with hoods and face coverings. The whole attack lasted about two minutes, with the gunmen calmly circling the van and firing upon the occupants with precision.

According to the New York Times, the killings marked the first death of a prison guard in the line of duty in France in 32 years.

French President Emmanuel Macron said that the attack was a shock to all of France and that everything would be done to track down the perpetrators.

“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,” he said, adding that they will be “uncompromising” in their response.

Amra was sentenced to 18 months in prison for aggravated theft last week but is also suspected of involvement in a bloody Marseille murder in 2022.

“He is suspected of having ordered an assassination in Marseille on 17 June 2022. The charred corpse of a man was found in a burned vehicle, in the town of Le Rove, bordering Marseille. The victim had obviously been executed beforehand with a bullet to the head,” a police source told RTL.

Éric Dupond-Moretti, France’s justice minister, said that Amra was under special surveillance but wasn’t believed to have been radicalized or a terrorist suspect, the Independent reported.


France’s anti-terrorist unit GIGN is leading the nationwide manhunt.

The attack occurred on the main highway between Paris and Normandy and marks a serious public image blow for a country preparing to host the Olympics later this year.

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