Four French nationals arrested for foiled Dutch prison break: report

Four men were arrested on Sunday afternoon for trying to break convict Omar L. out of the prison in Zutphen, where he is serving a life sentence. The four suspects all have French nationality and a background in North Africa, the Telegraaf reports based on "well informed" sources around the investigation.

The suspects crashed a delivery van into the Zutphen prison's gate at around 10:50 a.m. on Sunday morning, the police said in a statement. The van caught fire and the suspects fled.

The police immediately started searching for them. They noticed a suspicious vehicle and gave chase. In Zevenaar, the car stopped briefly. One of the suspects got out and tried to flee on foot. He was quickly arrested. The car was eventually brought to a halt on the N813 near Wehl. The police fired a warning shot and the other three suspects were arrested.

Exactly how they planned to get Omar L. out of prison after crashing into the gate, is unclear. L. was transferred to the high security prison in Vught after the unsuccessful jail break.

Lawyers Jan Vlug and Jan-Hein Kuijpers, who are representing two of the four suspects, would "neither deny nor confirm" the men's nationality. As the suspects are in restricted custody, they cannot comment on the investigation.

Omar L., together with Hicham M., were convicted of two assassinations and three attempted assassinations last year. The court considered it proven that L. ordered the attacks and M. was the gunman. L. was sentenced to life in prison. 

L. is also linked to the gang allegedly run by Benaouf A., who was also at the center of a foiled prison break in 2017. A group of men tried to hijack a helicopter and break A. out of the prison in Roermond, after which he was transferred to the high security prison in Vught. A. was sentenced to four years extra in prison for the foiled jail break. The court also canceled the "conditional release", to which convicts are entitled after serving two-thirds of their sentence. 

Remarkably, a man from France was also involved in the attempt to break A. out of prison. He was killed while fleeing from the police.