France prison van attack infographic
Graphic shows location of the ambush.


Massive manhunt for escaped prisoner in France

By Jordi Bou

May 15, 2024 - An “unprecedented” manhunt is underway for a prisoner freed in an ambush by gunmen who shot dead two prison officers escorting him back to jail in northern France.

Mohamed Amra, known as "The Fly", was being taken back to jail from a court in Normandy on Tuesday when a car rammed his prison van at a toll booth.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said France had deployed unprecedented resources to capture the armed gang, including assistance from foreign countries. Four-hundred and fifty officers were deployed to the Eure region where the attack took place.

The attack underlines the growing threat of drug crime across Europe, the world’s No.1 cocaine market.

At a time when France is trying hard to project an image of law and order ahead of the Olympic Games, the images of violence on the main highway from Paris to Normandy were a blow.

PUBLISHED: 15/05/2024; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Getty Images