France: A “radicalised” inmate at a prison in northwest France, who seriously wounded two guards in a knife attack on Tuesday, was shot and injured in a police raid that also left his visiting partner fatally wounded, sources told AFP.
Prisoner Michael Chiolo and his female partner had been holed up in the family-visiting area of the modern, high-security prison at Conde-sur-Sarthe in Normandy when police moved in and detained them, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said on Twitter.
Both were shot and wounded in the operation and “the woman died” of her injuries, a source close to the case said, adding that Chiolo was less seriously wounded in the cheek.
Elite police units moved in some 10 hours after 27-year-old Chiolo wounded the prison guards with a knife which Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet suggested might have been smuggled into the prison by his partner.
“There is no doubt as to the terrorist nature of this attack,” Belloubet told reporters earlier.
Chiolo, who was serving a 30-year sentence, is thought to have become a “radicalised” Islamist while in prison.
He shouted “Allahu Akhbar” (God is Greatest) during his rampage in the family-visiting area, prison staff representative Alassanne Sall told AFP.
France has suffered a series of deadly attacks from Islamist extremists since 2015 and is on high alert amid concerns about the return of Islamic State group jihadists from Syria.
The Paris state prosecutor said separately that accounts by witnesses suggested Chiolo “wanted to avenge” Cheriff Chekatt, who was shot dead by police after killing five people and wounding 11 at a Christmas market in the eastern French city of Strasbourg in December.
The latest violence comes as prison staff nationwide, who have been demanding better working conditions, have repeatedly staged protests on Tuesdays.