French Prison Guards Killed, Launching Manhunt

( – French police have launched a national manhunt after a notorious criminal was freed in a dramatic rescue. An armed gang attacked a prison van carrying the inmate, killing two guards. The incident is likely linked to organized crime.

Drug Smuggler Rescued by Armed Gang

Mohammed Amra, 30, has a string of 13 criminal convictions dating back to when he was 15. Originating from the crime-riddled southern French city of Marseilles, he’s been linked to a series of crimes related to gangsterism and the drug trade. French police say he’s involved in trafficking drugs between French colonies in the Caribbean and France itself and has fought a bloody war against a rival gang.

On May 7, Amra, who’s nicknamed “The Fly,” was convicted of several violent robberies in Évreux, Normandy, in 2019 and sentenced to 18 months in prison. Five days later, guards caught him trying to saw through the bars of his cell window and moved him to a high-security disciplinary unit in Évreux. He then had to be moved from there on May 14 to attend a court hearing in Rouen. Because he was an escape risk he was transported in a prison van, escorted by armed officers.

Amra got to his court hearing — but on the return trip, when the van stopped at the Incerville tollbooth on Motorway A154, a car suddenly rammed the front of it. Several masked gunmen appeared from hiding places around the toll area and closed in on the prison vehicle. Armed with what appear to be AR15-style rifles, they immediately opened fire on the guards, killing two and seriously injuring the other three, before freeing Amra and escaping; police later found the burned-out wrecks of the two getaway cars they used.

France Launches Manhunt

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that “Everything is being done” to recapture Amra and find his accomplices and promised an “implacable” manhunt. At least 200 paramilitary troops of the Gendarmerie have been deployed to the area along with the elite GIGN unit, France’s equivalent of the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team.

French police and corrections officials have paid tribute to the murdered guards, while anti-immigration politician Eric Zemmour said the crime was an attack on the whole of France and called on the country to “win the war that has been declared against it.” Meanwhile, Amra’s lawyer claimed he’d “like to believe” his client didn’t know about the rescue plan.

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