France Launches Massive Manhunt After Deadly Prison Van Attack

France Launches Massive Manhunt After Deadly Prison Van Attack

Felix Yim 15/05/2024
France Launches Massive Manhunt After Deadly Prison Van Attack

French authorities are in the midst of an unprecedented manhunt following a shocking ambush on a prison van in northern France.

The incident occurred during the transport of Mohamed Amra, also known as "The Fly," back to jail from a court in Normandy. The assailants, armed and driving multiple vehicles, rammed the prison van at a toll booth before opening fire, resulting in the death of two officers and severe injuries to three others. This attack marks the first fatal assault on prison staff in France in over three decades.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has labeled the attack as an act of "cold-blooded barbarity" and has mobilized approximately 450 gendarmes and police officers for an "unprecedented" search operation in the Eure department of Normandy. President Emmanuel Macron has assured the nation that exhaustive efforts are underway to bring the perpetrators to justice.

In response to the tragic loss, French prison officer unions have called for walkouts across the country to honor the fallen officers. Hundreds of staff from prisons and detention centers are participating in work-to-rule protests, demanding urgent measures to enhance staff safety. These measures include reducing extraditions of prisoners to court hearings by promoting video-conferencing and reassessing escort protocols.

A minute's silence will be observed nationwide, with demonstrations outside French prisons, including in Paris. Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti has pledged to meet with union representatives to address their concerns and ensure adequate support for prison staff.

During a press conference, Paris state prosecutor Laure Beccuau provided details of the attack, stating that armed assailants intercepted the prison van at a toll barrier in Incarville, Eure. The attackers, wielding long guns, targeted the vehicle and fled the scene with Amra after incapacitating the officers. Subsequent investigations led to the discovery of two scorched vehicles believed to have been used by the perpetrators.

Dupond-Moretti expressed profound sorrow over the loss of the officers, highlighting the personal tragedies endured by their families. He emphasized that every effort would be made to apprehend the perpetrators and ensure they face appropriate consequences for their heinous actions.

Amra, the escaped prisoner, had recently been convicted of burglary and was under indictment for a kidnapping case in Marseille that resulted in a fatality. His lawyer, Hugues Vigier, expressed disbelief at Amra's involvement in the escape plan, citing his client's lack of association with such criminal activities. Vigier revealed that Amra had attempted to escape from his prison cell earlier in the week but maintained skepticism about his participation in the violent ambush.

Amra's criminal history spans over a decade, with his first conviction dating back to his adolescence. Despite being associated with a gang in Marseille, his record does not include any drug-related offenses, according to the Paris prosecutor. However, his transportation required a high-level security escort due to his history and potential ties to organized crime.

As the manhunt intensifies, French authorities are sparing no resources in their pursuit of justice. The attack has sent shockwaves across the country, prompting a collective call for solidarity and resilience in the face of adversity. With the determination to uphold the rule of law and protect public safety, France remains steadfast in its commitment to bring closure to this tragic chapter and prevent such incidents from recurring in the future.

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Felix Yim

Tech Expert

Felix is the founder of Society of Speed, an automotive journal covering the unique lifestyle of supercar owners. Alongside automotive journalism, Felix recently graduated from university with a finance degree and enjoys helping students and other young founders grow their projects. 

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