France prison van attack sees Interpol issue global 'Red Notice' for escaped criminal 'The Fly'

Mohamed Amra
Mohamed Amra is on the run -Credit:No credit

International law enforcement agency Interpol has issued a global 'Red Notice' for the fugitive known as 'The Fly' after two police officers were killed in a terrifying attack on a prison van.

The alert comes in response to the dramatic escape of Mohamed Amra, 30, who fled from a prison van following the assault that resulted in the death of two guards at a toll booth on a motorway in northwest France. Amra, with a history of criminal activity, evaded capture after the breakout. With his extensive criminal record, an international arrest warrant was swiftly activated. The French authorities were the ones to call upon Interpol's assistance. The "Red Notice" clearly states that Amra is sought for involvement in organised crime and murder, among other serious charges.

The escape claimed the lives of Fabrice Moello, a 52 year old father of two, and Arnaud Garcia, 35, whose partner is expecting their child. The violent episode occurred on the A154 motorway near Val-de-Reuil in Normandy, also leaving three other guards with severe injuries.

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A gunman is seen during the attack
A gunman is seen during the attack

Amra, known for his connections to a drug trafficking ring, has accumulated 13 convictions throughout his criminal career. After the escape, he and his accomplices abandoned their vehicles, which were later found incinerated, as reported by the Mirror.

His moniker 'The Fly' was given by an associate who said it's "because he's everywhere, like an annoying fly". According to Interpol, Amra, hailing from Rouen in France, is described as being between 174cm and 180cm tall, with "wavy hair and a beard" and dark brown eyes.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told RTL radio that the manhunt for the fugitive involved around 450 officers, calling the operation "unprecedented". He expressed confidence that Amra would be apprehended "in the coming days", adding: "We are progressing a lot."

Witnesses were shocked at how quickly the audacious robbery unfolded in broad daylight, taking less than five minutes. The escapees initially made their getaway in two cars - an Audi A5 and a BMW 5 series, but the Audi was soon found abandoned and set alight.

By Tuesday afternoon, the search had intensified, with 200 gendarmes teaming up with the elite GIGN anti-terror unit in a countrywide search. A police spokesperson cautioned: "They are armed and very dangerous, and everything is being done to find them."

Amra, who was last week handed an 18-month sentence for a series of aggravated thefts, was in transit between detention centres in Rouen and Evreux when the escape occurred. His criminal activities include armed robberies at supermarkets and other outlets in the suburbs of Evreux during summer 2019. Additionally, he is implicated in the murder of a man in Marseille on June 17, 2022.