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The Telegraph By Bruno Waterfield Feb.19, 2013
The heist at Zaventem international airport on Monday night is one of the biggest diamond robberies in history and the highly trained professional gang took just three minutes to hold up a Swiss passenger jet before making their escape.
Belgian police are baffled after the robbery which took place with clockwork precision, military timing and apparent insider knowledge allowing the gang to target the delivery of a diamond consignment within an 11 minute time window.
The robbers wearing masks, hooded police cagoules and armed with machine guns equipped with laser sights, struck at 7.47pm local time on Monday night just before the aircraft they had targeted 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.
The diamonds are thought to have been from Antwerp, a major European trading centre for the gems where £130 million ($200m) in stones are traded every day
The robbers used two black vehicles, a Mercedes van and Audi A8 car, both equipped with blue flashing police lights.
One vehicle, the Mercedes van was later recovered burned out nearby, the second car and the eight men have disappeared without trace triggering a manhunt across Belgium and the Netherlands.
The raid took place without a shot being fired and was so quick, around 180 seconds that passengers on board the plane “saw nothing” and the first they knew of the heist was when their flight was cancelled minutes later.