A massive manhunt is underway for an escaped prisoner dubbed “The Fly” after officers were killed in an attack on a prison van in France.

A massive manhunt is underway in France for the gunmen who ambushed a prison convoy on Wednesday. Killed two prison officials, seriously wounding three others and the prisoner they were carrying. “They will pay,” the prime minister vowed to catch the gang.

“We are tracking you, we will find you and we will punish you,” Prime Minister Gabriel Atal said in parliament, to applause from lawmakers. “They will pay for what they have done.”

French Interior Minister Gérald Durman said “unprecedented” efforts were being deployed. Hundreds of officers were mobilized to search for escaped convict Mohammed Amra and the attackers who were waiting for the prison van carrying him and rammed a car into it before opening fire on Tuesday.

International police body Interpol said on Wednesday it had issued a red notice for the arrest of 30-year-old Amra at a request by France.

A screen grab from a CCTV video shows gunmen wearing balaclavas ambushing a prison van to free a drug dealer in Val-de-Reuil, France on May 14, 2024.

Handout via REUTERS

“A red notice has been issued at the request of French authorities for escaped prisoner Mohammed Amra alias 'The Fly',” Interpol said. A Red Notice is a request to law enforcement agencies around the world to locate and arrest a wanted person.

The notice says Amara is about 6 feet tall, with wavy brown hair, dark brown eyes and a beard.

The violence of the attack shocked France. Prison activists observed moments of silence outside prisons in Paris and elsewhere on Wednesday in memory of officers killed.

Speaking on RTL radio on Wednesday, Darman expressed hope that Amra could be caught “in the coming days”. Without giving full details on the extent of the search, he said 450 officers had been deployed to the area of ​​the attack in Normandy, northern France, to search for the attackers and trace their whereabouts.

He said that the reasons are noteworthy. “We're making great progress.”

The attack seems to have been carefully prepared. The convoy was taking Amra back to prison in the Normandy town of Avreix after a hearing with an investigator in Rouen when it was ambushed on the A154 freeway.

The prison van and another prison escort vehicle had just passed a toll booth on the freeway when the van collided with a car. The Paris prosecutor's office said the car had been stolen and had passed the toll booth minutes ahead of the prison convoy and was waiting there.

Another car came up behind the convoy, apparently boxing. The attackers fired from cars and sprayed the prison vans, Paris prosecutor Laure Bacau said.

After that, the attackers and the nobles fled. Two burned cars were later found and are being examined by investigators, Bekwau said.

One of the slain officials was a 52-year-old captain in the prison service, where he had worked for nearly 30 years, and a father of two, Bekwau said. The other officer who died, aged 34, was a married father, he said.

Amra, 30, has a long criminal record, including at least 13 convictions for robbery and other offences, the first when he was just 15, they said.

The fugitive has a history of violent crimes.

According to court sources, Amra has a long history of convictions for violent crimes that began when he was just 15 years old.

The 30-year-old inmate from Rouen in northwestern France, who is reportedly known as “La Mouch” (The Fly), was still on the run on Wednesday, a day after alleged accomplices arrested a Killed two jail officials at the toll station and fled the scene. It

Unidentified mugshot of 30-year-old French inmate Mohammed Amra, also known as “The Fly,” who was released by colleagues in a deadly May 14, 2024, attack on a French prison van that killed two guards and injured three others. were gone

Handout via REUTERS

Three other prison guards were injured in the attack, one of whom was fighting for his life.

“He is very famous for the judiciary,” Paris chief prosecutor Laure Bacau told reporters.

Amra has close ties to organized crime, said another source close to the case, who spoke on condition of anonymity, and is suspected of ordering drug-dealing murders.

Another source said on condition of anonymity that Amara runs her own drug trafficking network.

However, none of his 13 prior convictions — for crimes ranging from armed robbery to extortion — were directly related to drug dealing, said Biko, who led the motorway attack investigation. are doing

He was jailed in January 2022 at Evreux prison in the northwestern Normandy region to serve a series of convictions, including criminal conspiracy, extortion, robbery, armed violence and participating in an illegal motor rodeo.

The most recent conviction, for robbery, was handed down last week.

He was also facing two new charges at the time of his escape, one of attempted murder and another of participating in gangland killings in the southern French Riviera city of Marseille, a hotbed of drug trafficking and gang violence.

AFP contributed to this report.

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