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France issues European warrant after prisoner blasts way out of jail


11:04, April 14, 2013

PARIS, April 13 (Xinhua) -- French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira on Saturday said an European warrant has been issued in the Schengen area after an armed man blasted his way out of the prison and took five staff hostage in northern France, local media reported.

The escaped prisoner, who was identified by prosecutors as Redoine Faid, used explosives to blast through five doors and fled the prison in the town of Sequedin on Saturday morning after taking four wardens hostage, the French news agency AFP said in its report.

One hostage was released just outside the prison, another a few hundred meters away and then the final two were left along a highway when the escaper changed vehicle.

Police and helicopters are still trying to track down the escaper, according to the AFP.

State Prosecutor Frederic Fevre said Faid was a "particularly dangerous prisoner" and was still armed and in possession of explosives.

"The manhunt will initially focus on Belgium of course because we share a border, but also extends to entire Schengen area and beyond," said Taubira during a press briefing in Sequedin. The Sequedin prison is only a few kilometers from the Belgian border.

Local media reports said Faid was in pre-trial custody in the prison, accused of a 2010 robbery in which a policewoman was killed.

Police suspected that his wife, who visited Faid earlier on Saturday morning, might be involved in his escape.

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