France launches massive manhunt for escaped prisoner who once fled to Israel

Minnie Murray
July 2, 2018

The helicopter was found abandoned and torched in Garges-les-Gonesse, a town in the suburbs north of Paris.

Less than a decade later, on a warm Sunday morning, a small white helicopter would fly over the prison's plentiful foliage and land in the aforementioned courtyard.

A union representative at Reau Prison, Martial Delabroye, told BFM television that two men dressed in black, wearing balaclavas and police armbands entered in the prison to look for Faid.

Faid grew up in the French capital's tough immigrant suburbs.

In 2001, three armed robbers fled a prison in Draguignan, southern France, after an accomplice hijacked a helicopter from an airfield in nearby St Tropez.

A notorious gangster has escaped by helicopter from a prison in the Paris region, the French authorities say. At that time he used four guards as human shields and explosives that were hidden in a tissue box to blow out prison gates. They had earlier taken a helicopter instructor hostage while he was waiting for a student, and ordered him to go to the prison.


French prosecutors opened an investigation into the escape.

Two gunmen jumped from the helicopter to free Faid from the visitors' room where he was meeting one of his brothers before escaping in the helicopter, she said. In 2013, he managed to escape a prison in Lille, France. He was arrested in 1998 after three years on the run in Switzerland and Israel, according to the French media.

Faid has authored a book in which he detailed his experiences growing up in a crime-ridden suburb of Paris. He has previously said his lifestyle was inspired by Hollywood gangster films, including the Al Pacino thriller Scarface.

He spent years as an global fugitive before his capture, and then a decade in prison, and then wrote an autobiography after his release on parole in 2009.

Redoine Faid was in prison for armed robbery. He was recaptured six weeks later at a hotel in suburban Paris - but not before he briefly claimed the title of France's "public enemy number one", the Independent reported.

But he was suspected of masterminding an attempted armed robbery in 2010 that led to a high-speed chase and a shootout with police in which 26-year-old policewoman Aurelie Fouquet was killed.

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