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Hundreds of police are hunting armed men who attacked a prison van in France – with a convict reportedly nicknamed “The Fly” escaping.

Two male prison officers were shot dead and three others seriously injured during the ambush on a motorway in Incarville, northwest France, at around 9am.

Eric Dupond-Moretti, France’s justice minister, said one of the officers leaves behind a wife who was five months pregnant, while the other was a 21-year-old father-of-two.

He said two of those injured are in a critical condition after Tuesday’s ambush.

The officers were transporting convict Mohamed Amra, 30, when they came under heavy fire, said the Paris prosecutor’s office.

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CCTV shows car smash into prison van

Footage shows a black car driving into the front of a white van, and later two armed men patrolling near a tollbooth on the A154 motorway.

Several men used two vehicles to target the van – with one later found burnt-out, a police source told French news agency AFP.

Mohamed Amra
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Mohamed Amra’s nickname is said to be ‘The Fly’, according to French media

Amra had been serving an 18-month sentence for “aggravated thefts” in the suburbs of Evreux, northwest France, according to BFM TV.

The French broadcaster said his nickname is “The Fly”.

Police sources also said Amra was involved in drug dealing, suspected of ordering a murder in Marseille, and had ties to the city’s powerful “Blacks” gang.

He had reportedly appeared before a judge in Rouen on Tuesday morning, accused of attempted homicide.

The attack on the van took place while he was being transported back to prison in Evreux, according to reports in France.

Who is ‘The Fly’?

Footage shows the aftermath of a collision
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Footage shows the aftermath of a collision

A prison source told Le Parisien that the escaped inmate had tried to saw the bars off his cell two days ago.

He had reportedly been placed in solitary confinement and his surveillance level raised after the escape attempt.

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Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau said Amra was a “particularly monitored detainee” while in prison.

Gerald Darmanin, France’s interior minister, said “several hundred police officers” had been deployed to “find these criminals”.

French President Emmanuel Macron wrote on X: “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.”

“Everything, I mean everything, will be done to find the perpetrators of this despicable crime,” added justice minister Eric Dupond-Moretti.

“These are people for whom life weighs nothing. They will be arrested, they will be judged, and they will be punished according to the crime they committed.”

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Zelenskyy calls on Biden and Xi to join Ukraine peace summit

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Zelenskyy calls on Biden and Xi to join Ukraine peace summit

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has directly called on his US and Chinese counterparts to join his latest summit for peace in Ukraine.

Speaking from Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine on Friday, Mr Zelenskyy announced a “global peace summit”, co-hosted by Switzerland, starting on 15 June.

He claimed 80 countries have already confirmed their attendance.

But he said: “I am appealing to the global leaders of the world who are still outside the global efforts of the global peace summit.

“To President Biden, the leader of the United States, and to President Xi, the leader of China, we do not want the UN charter to be burned.

“Please show your leadership in advancing the peace.”

Residents evacuated from a building hit by strikes in Kharkiv on Saturday. Pic: Reuters
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Residents evacuated from a building hit by strikes in Kharkiv on Saturday. Pic: Reuters

He added that it must be “real peace – not just a pause in the strikes” after various ceasefire breaches by the Russians.

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Finally, he urged: “The efforts of the global majority are the best guarantee that all commitments will be fulfilled.”

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Shopping mall hit by strike in Kharkiv on Saturday. Pic: Reuters

Printworks and shopping centre targeted this week

Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, with a pre-war population of 1.5 million people, is close to the frontline, and has been consistently targeted since the initial invasion in February 2022.

On Thursday, its ‘Vivat’ printworks, which is the country’s largest, was hit by missiles, killing seven people, and destroying an estimated 50,000 books. A further 21 people were injured, Ukrainian officials said.

On Saturday, a strike on a shopping centre killed six people, injured 40, and left a further 16 unaccounted for, local authorities said.

Elsewhere in the city, an additional 11 people were injured as a result of strikes, including a 13-year-old boy.

Just over the border, in Russia’s Belgorod region, the regional governor there said four residents died as a result of Ukrainian attacks on Saturday.

Aftermath of Russian strike on Kharkiv on Saturday. Pic: Reuters
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Aftermath of Russian strike on Kharkiv on Saturday. Pic: Reuters

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Crowded DIY stores hit by strikes
Ukrainians training without firing due to shortages
Putin thanks Xi for his Ukraine efforts

Mr Zelenskyy warned a new Russian offensive is being planned northwest of Kharkiv.

Ukrainians and military analysts have repeatedly warned of depleting weapon supplies on the frontline.

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Earlier this month the US agreed to a further $2bn (£1.6bn) in military support for Ukraine.

It has consistently resisted calls to send US troops there, in line with NATO’s refusal for direct involvement in the conflict.

China has resisted calls by NATO and its member states to take a direct stance against Russia in support of Ukraine.

President Xi hosted Russian leader Vladimir Putin in a show of “friendship” earlier this month.

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Hamas launches first rocket attack on Israel from Gaza in months

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Hamas launches first rocket attack on Israel from Gaza in months

Hamas has launched rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza for the first time in months.

The barrage of rockets set off air raid sirens in cities as far away as Tel Aviv.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage in what appeared to be the first long-range rocket attack from Gaza since January, although Palestinian militants have continued to sporadically fire rockets and mortar rounds at communities along the Gaza border since then.

Hamas’s military wing claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Israeli military said eight projectiles crossed into Israel after being launched from the area of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where Israeli forces recently launched an incursion.

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India: Newborn babies killed in fire at hospital in Delhi after ‘chain of explosions’

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India: Newborn babies killed in fire at hospital in Delhi after 'chain of explosions'

At least six newborn babies have died after a fire broke out at a children’s hospital in India, according to reports.

Firefighters said they carried 12 newborns out of the centre in the Vivek Vihar district of east New Delhi late on Saturday night, but five of them died due to smoke inhalation.

Two other infants are believed to have already died, according to local media. There are differing reports as to whether six or seven infants have been killed so far.

Another five survived and are being treated in a nearby hospital, Delhi fire department chief Atul Garg said.

The blaze, which broke out on the first floor of the hospital, was put out after about an hour.

Burnt registration cards lie on the floor of a baby care center in New Delhi, India, Sunday, May 26, 2024. A fire broke out in the care center on Saturday night killing six infants, a fire service officer said on Sunday. (AP Photo/Dinesh Joshi)
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Burnt registration cards lie on the floor of the hospital. Pic: AP

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Mr Garg told the ANI news agency that an oxygen cylinder blast was the likely cause of the fire, but there has been no official confirmation.

“It was a very tough operation,” he was quoted as saying by India Today.

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“We made two teams. One team started firefighting because there was a blast of cylinders. We can say it was a chain of blasts of cylinders.

“We had to save ourselves also. We started rescue operations for babies as well. Unfortunately, we could not save all the children… That is a regrettable incident.”

The owner of the baby hospital has fled, according to Delhi police.

Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi’s chief minister, called the fire “heartbreaking”, adding that the “causes of the incident are being investigated and whoever is responsible for this negligence will not be spared”.

Machines move the debris following a fire in a gaming zone in Rajkot, in the western state of Gujarat, India, May 26, 2024. REUTERS/Amit Dave
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Machines move debris after a fire in Rajkot. Pic: Reuters

Earlier on Saturday, at least 27 people were killed in a fire at a crowded amusement park in the city of Rajkot in Gujarat state in western India.

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