Manhunt Underway in France After Prisoner Escapes in Ambush

A vast police manhunt was underway in northern France on Tuesday after armed assailants ambushed a prison convoy at a road tollbooth, killed two prison officers and freed an inmate.

Éric Dupond-Moretti, France’s justice minister, said that three other prison officers had been seriously injured in the episode, which occurred near Incarville, a town in the Eure area northwest of Paris.

The prisoner was being transported between a courthouse in Évreux and a prison in Rouen when men armed with “heavy weapons” attacked the van he was in, Mr. Dupond-Moretti said.

Laure Beccuau, the Paris prosecutor, identified the man who escaped as Mohamed Amra, 30, and said he was part of a category of inmates who are under surveillance.

Mr. Amra had been found guilty of theft by breaking and entering by a court in Évreux last week, and he had also been under investigation in Marseille, a southern Mediterranean city, in connection to a kidnapping and homicide case. Ms. Beccuau did not provide details about either cases or specify how long Mr. Amra had been detained.

A national unit specialized in organized crime will lead the investigation into the ambush and into Mr. Amra’s escape, Ms. Beccuau said in a statement.

“We will track them, we will find them, and, I tell you, they will pay,” Gabriel Attal, France’s prime minister, told lawmakers in Parliament.

President Emmanuel Macron said the attack was a “shock to us all.”

“The Nation stands by the families, the injured and their colleagues,” he said on X.

The French authorities did not identify the two officers who died, but Mr. Dupond-Moretti said that one of them was married with two children, and that the other was married and expecting a child.

Gérald Darmanin, France’s interior minister, said on X that “hundreds” of police officers had been deployed to apprehend the escaped inmate and the assailants.

“Everything possible is being done to find these criminals,” Mr. Darmanin said.

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