Gangster escapes French prison by helicopter

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French-Algerian career criminal Redoine Faid broke out of a Paris prison on Sunday in a daring escape.

The 46 year-old serial jail breaker, was helped by three heavily-armed accomplices who landed in his jail in a helicopter and flew out with him on board.

Faid was serving 25 years in prison for his role in a failed 2010 robbery that resulted in the death of French police officer Aurélie Fouquet.

The escape on Sunday was the second time Faid had escaped from a French prison.

He also had a 10-year sentence to serve for a previous escape, in 2013, when he blasted his way out of jail with explosives and spent six weeks on the run.

"It was an extremely well-prepared commando unit that may have used drones to survey the area beforehand", Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet said.

The entire escape lasted about 2 minutes, the report says, but planning for it must've taken months.

Justice Minister Belloubet has called for an immediate review of the prison system in France, criticizing security at the prison where Faid escaped as "passive".

A helicopter believed to have been used by French convict Redoine Faid was recovered outside Paris.

Throughout the 90s, Faid ran a gang involved in extortion and armed robbery in the French capital, before renouncing crime in a book about his experience growing up in the suburbs of Paris.

The helicopter was found shortly afterwards in a suburb northeast of Paris, along with the pilot, who had been beaten and was taken to hospital in a state of shock. When the helicopter arrived, Faid was meeting with his brother in the visiting room.

Along the way, police sources said, Faid picked up some tricks from former soldiers in Israel, where he hid out from the law on one occasion and said he dreamed of living. The getaway helicopter was apparently discovered north of Paris, according to Reuters, and the men are still on the lam. Faid later wrote that he had watched Mann's film "Heat" many times as inspiration for his bank-robbing.

The courtyard that they landed the helicopter in is the only one in Réau that doesn't have helicopter nets on it. Helicopter escapes from prisons in France were relatively common up until the late 2000s.

Following a decade in prison, he was released under conditions in 2009 after convincing parole officers that he had changed.

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