Notorious gangster shot dead in Marseille Cybercafé

A notorious French gangster has been shot dead in Marseille in the latest incident in several months’ gang warfare in the southern French port, notorious for its “French connection” drug-related organised crime.


Souhel Hanna-Elias, nicknamed Joël le Turc, was shot by two men on a motorbike as he sat in a cybercafé in the centre of France’s second-largest city on Friday morning.

Three bullets hit him in the head and he died in the café, ambulance staff reported.

His attackers had not concealed their faces. A woman who was present was taken to hospital in a state of shock.

Hanna-Elias, who was 55-years-old, was known to the police for his gangland connections and had been convicted of robbery and criminal conspiracy.

He had been one of the lieutenants of the notorious Francis Vanverberghe, known as Francis le Belge, a Marseille godfather involved in narcotics, prostitution and many other kinds of crime.

Vanverberghe was murdered in a café off Paris’s Champs Elysées in 2000. He was deemed responsible for the 1973 murder of Ansan Bistoni, known as the Aga Khan, who was involved in the drug-smuggling ring immortalised in William Friedkin’s film The French Connection.

A series of recent murders in Marseille have led police to believe that a turf war is taking place between rival gangs, possibly linked to drug trafficking.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning