Who is Mohamed Amra - French ‘gang boss’ dubbed ‘The Fly’ who is on the run after prison van attack?

14 May 2024, 15:34 | Updated: 14 May 2024, 15:38

Mohamed Amra, known as 'The Fly'
Mohamed Amra, known as 'The Fly'. Picture: Mugshot

By Christian Oliver

A manhunt is underway for a gang boss known as 'The Fly' after he escaped from a prison convoy as it was stormed by armed men.

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Two officers were killed during the assault on the van this morning at a tollbooth in Eure, Normandy, northern France. Three others are seriously injured.

Mohamed Amra had just two days earlier attempted to escape from prison by sawing the bars from his cell, Le Parisien reported.

He had been incarcerated at the Évreux remand centre where he was considered a “particularly notable detainee", Paris public prosecutor Laure Beccuau said.

It follows his recent conviction of "burglary theft" at the Évreux judicial court on Friday.

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Amra is also considered by prosecutors to be involved in a larger criminal network and the head of a drugs gang, a police source told Le Parisien.

It comes amid a separate indictment from the Specialized Interregional Jurisdiction (JIRS) of Marseille accusing him of “kidnapping and sequestration leading to death”.

The charge relates to a killing in Marseille on June 17, 2022, RTL reported, after a charred body was found in a burnt-out car in the town of Le Rove.

A bullet had been fired into the man's head before the car was set ablaze.

It is not yet clear how long he has been held at the Eure prison amid Amra's spate of charges, but RTL said he had been detained there following the charge.

Paris' public prosecutor's office described Amra "above all" as a drug trafficker amid his charges for kidnapping and false imprisonment resulting in death.

Police officers gather at the site of a ramming attack which took place late morning at a road toll in Incarville in Eure, Tuesday
Police officers gather at the site of a ramming attack which took place late morning at a road toll in Incarville in Eure, Tuesday. Picture: Getty

It comes as two police officers were killed and three others seriously injured in the ambush today amid Amra's escape.

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

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin posted on X: "All means are being used to find these criminals.

"On my instructions, several hundred police officers and gendarmes were mobilised.

French President Emmanuel Macron posted: "This morning's attack, which cost the lives of prison administration agents, is a shock for all of us.

"The nation stands alongside the families, the injured and their colleagues."

Some 200 officers have been depoloyed amid the significant law enforcement operation in the north-western region of France as authorities worked to secure the area and apprehend the assailants.

Mr Beccuau announced an investigation into the attack, now considered a case of organised crime and murder.

"At this stage, we mourn the death of two penitentiary agents in this armed attack, and two are in critical condition," Mr Beccuau said in a statement.

The investigation will also address organised escape attempts, possession of military-grade weapons and conspiracy to commit crime.