What we learn about France’s ‘The Fly’ and his lethal jail van escape | EUROtoday

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A large manhunt was underway in France on Wednesday and an Interpol pink discover was issued a day after a gaggle of gunmen ambushed a jail van at a motorway toll and freed a infamous gangster generally known as “The Fly”. Two jail officers have been killed within the spectacular escape and three extra have been wounded. Here’s what we all know to this point.

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The brazen assault happened close to Incarville within the Eure division in Normandy at 10:57am on Tuesday, May 14, as police have been transporting a detainee between jail and a listening to.

Footage from surveillance camerasobtained by a number of French media, exhibits the jail van slowing all the way down to cross by means of a motorway toll when a black Peugeot SUV – reported as stolen a number of days earlier – all of a sudden crashes into the automobile head-on, blocking its passage. Several black-clad males carrying balaclavas and geared up with military-grade weapons step out of the passenger automobile and open fireplace on the van. They are then joined by a second crew who step out of a close-by Audi. The attackers in the end handle to free the prisoner, recognized by prosecutors as 30-year-old Mohammed Amra, aka “The Fly”.

The complete operation is estimated to have taken round two minutes.

Frédéric Liakhoff, secretary of the jail officer union FO-Justice on the penitentiary centre within the metropolis of Caen, instructed the AFP information company that the jail guards accompanying Amra have been armed with “simple Sig Sauer [handguns] while they faced weapons of war”.

Amra had been escorted by 5 guards, the second-highest safety stage for transporting inmates in France and sometimes reserved for these implicated in terror or organised crime circumstances.

According to prime Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau, the safety measures surrounding Amra had been revised and upgraded simply “a few weeks ago”.

Two jail officers have been killed within the assault and three extra have been injured, considered one of whom continues to be combating for his life.

The two automobiles believed to have been utilized by the perpetrators have been later discovered burned-out at different areas.

Hundreds of officers deployed

A girl who was travelling on a bus going by means of the motorway toll on the time of the assault recounted that gunshots had all of a sudden began to ring out in all places. “Everyone threw themselves on the floor and went to [hide in] the back of the bus,” she instructed French day by day Le Parisien. “One of the passengers also had to take the wheel and back the bus up,” she stated, including that “the driver was too afraid of getting shot”.

More than 450 cops and gendarmes have been deployed to the Eure area to take part in an enormous manhunt for Amra and the lads who freed him.

Interpol on Wednesday additionally issued a pink discover search warrant for Amra, which signifies that police in different international locations can find and arrest him. The pink discover additionally confirmed Amra’s drug lord alias “La Mouche” (“The Fly”), as had been reported by a number of French newspapers, and stated he was suspected of “acquisition, detention, transportation, offering or disposal of narcotics”.

More than a dozen convictions

Amra, from the northern metropolis of Rouen, has a formidable felony monitor document and was jailed in January 2022 in Normandy’s Evreux jail to serve a number of sentences, together with for felony conspiracy, extortion, theft, armed violence and participation in an unlawful motor rodeo.

His newest conviction, for housebreaking, was handed down solely final week.

“He is very well-known to the judiciary,” Beccuau instructed a press convention on Tuesday, noting Amra has 13 earlier convictions to his identify, none of which have been instantly associated to the narcotics enterprise. His first conviction dates again to 2009, when he was simply 15 years previous.

At the time of his escape, Amra was additionally dealing with two recent expenses, one for tried homicide and one other for participation in a gangland killing within the southern metropolis of Marseille, a hub for drug trafficking and gang violence.

According to a number of French media, Amra has shut hyperlinks to organised crime and runs his personal drug-trafficking community. Police sources with whom Reuters spoke described him as a mid-level participant in France’s drug commerce, with connections to Marseille’s highly effective “Blacks” gang.


Amra’s lawyer, Hugues Vigier, instructed broadcaster BFMTV that he was “dumbfounded” to be taught of his shopper’s escape, including that he discovered it exhausting to consider that Amra could be concerned in “such indiscriminate, dramatic, insane, inexcusable violence”.

“If he is implicated, then I will have been wrong about how he functions and what he is capable of,” Vigier stated however famous that simply two days earlier than the assault Amra had been caught sawing the bars of his cell.

“This element suggests that there was an escape attempt in preparation,” Vigier stated.

Despite this, Vigier voiced “another possibility” for the lethal ambush, suggesting Amra may even have been kidnapped by gunmen who got here “not to free him but to take him and make him pay for what they think he did”.

The free day by day 20 Minutes additionally cited an unnamed police supply as saying that whereas Amra’s place within the Marseille underworld would have allowed him to provide orders “we did not think him capable of such a high-level operation”.

The lethal assault has shocked France and prompted President Emmanuel Macron to vow an “uncompromising” response as soon as the perpetrators have been caught.

Thousands of jail employees throughout France on Wednesday additionally staged a symbolic 24-hour shut-down of jails in assist of their slain colleagues.

The jail van assault marked the primary time that French jail guards have been killed within the line of responsibility since 1992.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP and Reuters)