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Notorious bank robber escapes French prison using a hijacked helicopter and smoke bombs

Ashley May 
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This picture taken on July 1, 2018 in Gonesse, north of Paris shows police near a French helicopter Alouette II abandoned by French armed robber Redoine Faid after his escape from prison in Reau. 
Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt | AFP | Getty Images

A notorious French gangster has managed to escape prison again. This time, with help from armed friends using a hijacked helicopter and smoke bombs.

Redoine Faid, 46, who escaped prison five years ago using explosives, broke out of a prison near Paris on Sunday. He was serving a 25-year sentence for planning a robbery where a police officer was killed.

Two or three men armed with assault rifles hijacked a helicopter and forced the pilot to fly to Faid's prison in Seine-et-Marne. When the helicopter landed, two men dressed all in black, opened the prison door using a grinding machine and took Faid. At the time, he was meeting with his brother in a visitation room, members of the guards’ union, told France's BFM television. The men set off smoke bombs to blur the scene from video surveillance, union member Loic Delbroc said. 

France’s Justice Ministry said the escape was over in just "a few minutes."

Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet, who travelled to the Sud-Francilien prison in Réau on Sunday evening, called it "a spectacular escape," BBC reports. 

In the 1990s, Faid led a gang known for robbing banks. He escaped prison in 2013 using explosives hidden in packs of tissues. 

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