Terrorist armed with knife ‘and explosives’ is on the loose in prison

An Islamist terrorist armed with a knife and possibly explosives is on the loose in a French prison after slashing two guards.

The 27-year-old allegedly lashed out at the guards, injuring them, before locking himself inside a ‘family unit’ with his wife.

It is claimed he shouted out "Allahu Akhba" during the attack at the high-security Alencon-Conde-sur-Sarthe facility in Normandy.

It is also alleged that his wife helped him.

The unidentified inmate, who was once branded a ‘psychopath’ by a judge, had been handed a 30-year-sentence in 2014.

But despite his series of horrific crimes, he was reportedly allowed regular visits from family members behind bars.

Describing today’s incident, French Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet said: "The terrorist nature of this attack isn’t in doubt.

"The antiterrorist section of the public prosecutor’s office of Paris is involved in the incident, which is ongoing."

Ms Belloubet said the inmate’s wife had "feigned illness" this morning, prompting two prison officers to arrive in a room in the family unit.

The unit is designed to give couples privacy during visiting hours.

But after their arrival, the inmate slashed out at them with a knife, wounding one in the chest and the other in the back and face.

Both men have since been treated, and neither is in a life-threating condition.

The prisoner’s wife is alleged to have smuggled a ceramic knife into the prison – and there were also fears that explosives may have been made available to her husband another way.

At 3.30pm local time (2.30pm UK time), a prison source said: "The couple are still locked inside the family unit, and sniffer dogs are being used to try and sniff out any explosives close to them.

"The attacker says he now has an explosive belt on him.

"RAID anti-terrorist police are on the scene, along with soldiers, and all are trying to bring the situation under control.

"It appears it was too easy for the wife to smuggle a ceramic knife through metal detectors. If there are explosives, they would not have got into the prison in the same way."

The inmate was locked up five years ago for a series of offences, including robbery and torturing an 89-year-old victim.

It was during an appeal hearing in 2014 that a judge called him a ‘psychopath’, and soon afterwards, he was given another year in prison for asking his fellow inmates in Mulhouse to ‘recreate the Bataclan attack’.

This was a reference to the devastating November 2015 attack on the Bataclan music venue in Paris, where 89 people were murdered in cold blood by a gunman affiliated to ISIS.

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