Groupe d'intervention de la Gendarmerie nationale ("National Gendarmerie Intervention Group"), commonly abbreviated GIGN ( pronunciation ), is the elite law enforcement and special operations unit of the French National Gendarmerie. Its missions include counter-terrorism, hostage rescue, surveillance of national threats, protection of government officials, and targeting of organized crime.
GIGN was established in 1974 following the Munich massacre. Created initially as a relatively small SWAT unit specialized in sensitive hostage situations, it has since grown into a larger and more diversified force of nearly 400 members, with expanded responsibilities. GIGN shares jurisdiction of French territory with the National Police special-response units.
GIGN is headquartered in Versailles-Satory near Paris. Although most operations take place in France, as a component of the French Armed Forces, the unit can operate anywhere in the world. Many of its missions are classified, and members are not allowed to be publicly photographed. Since its formation, GIGN has been involved in over 1,800 missions and rescued more than 600 hostages, making it one of the most experienced counter-terrorism units in the world. The unit came into prominence following its successful assault on a hijacked Air France flight at Marseille Marignane airport in December 1994.
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