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Swiss Airline Target Of Diamond Theft

Jewels Stolen From Fokker 100 Jet Cargo Hold In Brussels

Diamonds estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars were stolen from the cargo hold of a Helvetic Airways Fokker 100 operating for Swiss Airlines at the Brussels Airport late Monday.

The group of eight thieves brazenly cut a hole in the airport perimeter fence and drove out onto the tarmac where the airplane was parked, according to a report from the Associated Press. The company that operates the airport told FlightGlobal.com that the entire incident lasted only a few minutes, that no gunshots were fired, and there were no injuries.

Anja Bijnens, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor in Brussels, said that the armed men "tried to pass themselves off as police officers." The reportedly made off with 120 parcels most of which were thought to hold diamonds, but some may have contained precious metals.

Police found the burnt-out vehicle near the airport late Monday. The haul was estimated to have a value of anywhere from $50 to $350 million.

Antwerp, Belgium, which handles four-fifths of the world's trade in rough diamonds, is only about 30 miles from the Brussels airport.

The airport said the incident had no impact on any other airplane, and did not disrupt operations at the airport.

FMI: www.police.ac.be/menu_58.htm

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