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The Daily Telegraph – RUSSELS — Police forces in Europe were hunting Tuesday for a $50-million stash of diamonds stolen by eight armed robbers disguised as police officers in an overnight raid at Brussels airport.
The raid at Zaventem international airport is one of the biggest diamond robberies in history. It took a highly-trained professional gang just three minutes to hold up a Swiss passenger jet before escaping into the night.
Belgian police were baffled by a robbery that took place with precision, military timing and apparent insider knowledge, allowing the gang to aim for the delivery of a diamond consignment within a 15-minute time window.
Wearing masks, hooded police anoraks and armed with machine guns equipped with laser sights, the robbers struck at 7.47pm local time on Monday night, just before the aircraft they sought was cleared for take-off.
The gang’s target was a Brink’s diamond and jewellery services truck that had just finished loading the 8.05pm Helvetic Airways flight 2L789 bound for Zurich. For security reasons, the valuable cargo is loaded on the runway just minutes before the plane takes off.
After cutting through a security perimeter fence near the Swiss Fokker 100 airliner, the robbers used two black vehicles, a Mercedes van and an Audi car both equipped with blue flashing police lights, to race across the airport tarmac.
Coming to a halt alongside the Brink’s van and the passenger jet, four armed men left each vehicle and held up the aircraft’s pilot, co-pilot and security guards.
The robbers then forced open its cargo bay doors and took out about 120 packages containing mostly diamonds, which only represented a portion of the cargo, thought to be worth more than pounds 60-million.
After loading the valuables, the eight men fled as security and police alarms were triggered.
The robbers drove at high speed through the same gap in the security cordon that they had opened in front of the aircraft on the runway. The raid took place without a shot being fired. The robbery was so fast that the passengers on board the plane “saw nothing”.
For the rest of this article, please go to the National Post website: http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/02/19/these-were-professionals-thieves-nabbed-50-million-in-diamonds-in-only-three-minutes-with-inside-help-police-say/