‘Was Attack on Prison Guards Terrorism?’ Asks Union Chief

Two prison guards carrying out their duties were hit by a car on Sunday morning, in an attack which a trade union chief has suggested may have been carried out “in the name of Allah”.

The guards were working at Chauconin-Meaux prison in Seine-et-Marne, north east of Paris, when they were attacked between 7.15 and 7.30am, reports Le Figaro. The female prison guards noticed the car, which had been moving slowly through the dark morning, before it deliberately reversed into them from behind.

One of the prison guards was hit, but only sustained a minor leg injury. Nevertheless she was shaken by the ordeal and unable to identify her attackers who managed to drive away. The other, aged 56, was more seriously hurt and hospitalised with internal bleeding having been dragged for 25 metres along the ground. Although treated in intensive care, her prognosis is now good.

An investigation into what has been classified as attempted murder has now been launched, but Jean-François Forget — head of the Ufap-Unsa union for those working in the French Ministry of Justice — told Le Figaro “we can’t rule out a terrorist attack.”

Mr. Forget did concede the attack could have been “retribution for a prisoner” but noted: “There are threats circulating on social media about attacking police and prison staff in the name of Allah.”

He also suggested that the attack could potentially be linked to efforts in French prisons to crack down on prisoner radicalisation. Although the prison where the attack took place is not a particularly sensitive facility, Mr. Forget confirmed that in common with “the vast majority of Parisian institutions” it nevertheless has “its share” of inmates who are radicalised or in the process of radicalisation.

Last year a prisoner called Mohamed Chebourou, who was reportedly radicalised in Chauconin-Meaux, failed to return to the prison from a temporary leave he had been granted. He was eventually arrested in December in Algeria.

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