Horror footage shows moment masked gunmen surround prison van as two guards killed

Two prison guards were killed and a 'highly dangerous' criminal escaped after masked gunmen surrounded a prison van earlier today.

Horror footage shows the attack on the prison vehicle by four men as it was transferring detainees, at a toll booth near Val-de-Reuil, Normandy, around 11am on Tuesday, May 14.

France's justice minister confirmed two prison staff were killed and three were 'seriously injured'. 'Highly dangerous' drugs gang boss Mohammed Amra, 30, remains on the run after escaping the prison van and making his way into one of the assailant's cars.

Men armed with machine guns can been seen stalking the motorway - shortly before a blazing vehicle is seen smashed into the prison service van in footage taken from the back of a bus, reports the Mirror.

The escaped prisoner is understood to be a 30-year-old career criminal nicknamed ‘The Fly’. His latest conviction was for burglary, and he also has a past conviction for attempted murder.

A police source told Le Parisien he was ‘the head of a narcotics network’ in France and accordingly considered hugely dangerous. At the time of the attack, he was being transferred from one detention centre to another, on a route that should have been secret.

French Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti said he would join a crisis unit to address the emergency.

"All means are being used to find these criminals. On my instructions, several hundred police officers and gendarmes were mobilised," he posted on X.

He also expressed condolences to the victims' families and agents of the Ministry of Justice.

Military police officers (gendarmerie) in the region activated the Épervier plan, which placed all levels of security and high alert and deployed armed police to cover and search the entire department of Eure. Around 200 members of the military police force are confirmed to have descended on the area.

Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, tweeted this afternoon: "This morning's attack, which cost the lives of prison officers, is a shock to us all. The Nation stands alongside the families, the injured and their colleagues. Everything is being done to find the perpetrators of this crime so that justice can be done in the name of the French people. We will be intractable."

French media reported the prisoner being transported in the van had escaped with the assailants. The incident prompted a significant law enforcement operation in the northeastern region of France as authorities worked to secure the area and apprehend the criminals.

French media reported the attack occurred late on Tuesday morning on the A154 motorway, which has since been closed.

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