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Hunt for runaway criminal continues after French prison van ambush

The ambush site near Val-de-Reuil, 14 May 2024
The ambush site near Val-de-Reuil, 14 May 2024 Copyright EBU/Euronews
Copyright EBU/Euronews
By Euronews with AP
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The inmate who escaped during a prison transfer with the help of four other assailants on Tuesday is yet to be found.


The search for the runaway thief linked to drug trafficking and his accomplices continued on Wednesday after two French prison officers were killed and three others were injured in an ambush of their van in the country's northwest the day before.

The 30-year-old Mohamed Amra, also known as "The Fly", fled the scene together with four armed men who opened fire on law enforcement and their vehicle at the Incarville toll booth near Val-de-Reuil in Normandy. 

Some 200 gendarmes were involved in the pursuit of Amra and others right after their escape, domestic outlets reported. 

One of the slain prison officers was 52 and father to two twins in their early twenties, while the other was 34 and soon to be a father, authorities said. 

Paris Public Prosecutor Laure Beccuau said during a press conference that Amra was just given his most recent sentence of 18 months in prison on 7 May for aggravated theft and is known for cases linked to drug trafficking. 

'We will be uncompromising'

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, French President Emmanuel Macron and Minister of Justice Éric Dupond-Moretti both expressed their condolences to the families and colleagues of the slain officers.

Macron said, "This morning's attack, which cost the lives of prison administration officers, is a shock to us all. The nation stands with the families, the injured, and their colleagues. Everything is being done to find the perpetrators of this crime so that justice can be served in the name of the French people. We will be uncompromising,". 

He also said on X, "Everything is being done to find the perpetrators of this crime so that justice can be done in the name of the French people,". 

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said, "The perpetrators will be hunted down. The perpetrators will be found. The perpetrators will be brought to justice.".

The French Assembly held a minute of silence in Paris on Tuesday.

Others, such as the controversial far-right politician Eric Zemmour, have jumped on the occasion to reinforce their anti-immigration talking points. 

"The first measure to take against Mohamed Amra and all his accomplices is remigration: loss of French nationality followed by deportation to their countries of origin," Zemmour said on X.

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