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French manhunt underway as prison officers killed in convoy attack


A forensic scientist at the site of the attack. /Alain Jocard/AFP
A forensic scientist at the site of the attack. /Alain Jocard/AFP

A forensic scientist at the site of the attack. /Alain Jocard/AFP

Gunmen on Tuesday attacked a prison van at a motorway toll in northern France, killing at least two prison officers and freeing a convict who had been jailed last week.

President Emmanuel Macron vowed that everything would be done to find those behind the attack as hundreds of members of the security forces were deployed for a manhunt to find the attackers and the inmate who were all still at large.

Two prison officers were killed in the attack and two others are receiving urgent medical care.

The incident took place late morning at a road toll in Incarville in the Eure region of northern France. Prosecutor Laure Beccuau named the inmate as Mohamed Amra, born in 1994, saying that last week he had been convicted of aggravated robbery and also charged in a case of abduction leading to death.

The case has been handed to prosecutors from France's office for the fight against organized crime.

The inmate was being transported between the towns of Rouen and Evreux in Normandy. Several individuals, who arrived in two vehicles, reportedly rammed the police van and then fled. It was not immediately clear how many attackers there were in total. 

"Everything is being done to find the perpetrators of this crime," President Emmanuel Macron wrote on X.

"We will be uncompromising," he added, describing the attack as a "shock."

Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti confirmed the attack on the prison convoy and said on X he was immediately heading to a crisis cell at his ministry.

"I am frozen with horror at the veritable carnage that took place at the Incarville toll," said Alexandre Rassaert, the head of the Eure region council.

"I hope with all my heart that the commando team of killers which carried out this bloody attack will be arrested quickly."

A unit of the GIGN special police force has been dispatched to apprehend the suspects.


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Traffic was stopped on the A154 motorway where the incident took place. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin wrote on X he had ordered the activation of France's Epervier plan, a special operation launched by the gendarmerie in such situations.

BFM TV, quoting a source close to the investigation, said the inmate aged 30 had been convicted last week and sentenced to 18 months in prison over robberies in 2019. It said he had also been charged with murder over a 2022 killing linked to drug trafficking.

A source close to the case, speaking to AFP, identified the inmate as Mohamed A. born in 1994. 

Law and order is a major issue in French politics ahead of next month's European elections and the incident sparked fierce reactions from politicians.

French manhunt underway as prison officers killed in convoy attack

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Source(s): AFP
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