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'Radicalised' prisoner stabs two wardens at Normandy jail

A prison cell in the correctional facility of Condé-sur-Sarthe in l'Orne, in the Normandy region
A prison cell in the correctional facility of Condé-sur-Sarthe in l'Orne, in the Normandy region JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / AFP

France's national anti-terror prosecutor has opened an investigation after two prison guards were stabbed by an inmate shouting "God is great" in Arabic at the high security Condé-sur-Sarthe prison in Normandy.


The incident took place on Tuesday morning at around 9:45 am Paris time.

The 27-year-old attacker remained camped out with his wife in the prison's family visit unit where the stabbings took place.

The inmate, known as Michaël C., stabbed the wardens in the face and throat using a ceramic knife, according to prison staff.

Both guards, said to be in their 30s, were hospitalised shortly after the incident although their lives are not in danger, according to Alassanne Sall, a union representative for the prison.

Sall, a member of France's FO workers' union, denounced what he described a "terrorist attack," in reference to the inmate's comments before the stabbing, in which he shouted "Allahu Akbar."

One of the guards, said to have had his stomach "gutted," is in the operating room waiting for surgery", according to the union representative, while the second victim sustained injuries in his jaw, face, and back.


"It was a real assassination attempt," said Sall, adding that there was "blood everywhere" in the prison's family visit unit.

An elite security force was dispatched to the correctional facility in L'Orne in the region of Normandy, to beef up the presence of the prison's own internal security guards.

The inmate, who converted to Islam in 2010, is said to have become "radicalised in prison," according to a police source, with prisons increasingly seen as breeding grounds for radicalisation.

Reenacting the Bataclan

However, union representative Sall points out that he was not being kept in a separate unit for radicalised prisoners.

The inmate is currently serving a 30-year prison sentence for kidnapping, detaining and killing an 89-year-old man in 2012, whom he and an accomplice had tried to rob using a weapon.

Three years later, the inmate was slapped with a one-year prison sentence for advocating terrorism, after he incited fellow prisoners to "reenact" the Bataclan terrorist attack that killed 90 people, in the prison's courtyard.

He is eligible for parole in 2038.


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