Brussels Airport reeling from diamond heist
The federal government will this week begin discussions on security improvements at Brussels Airport following the theft last week by armed robbers of a shipment of diamonds, estimated to be worth €50 million.
The diamonds were aboard a Swiss International Airlines flight about to take off for Zurich. Eight armed men dressed in police-style uniforms drove onto a construction site adjoining the airport and cut through the perimeter fencing. They approached the aircraft and demanded that ground staff hand over the diamonds. No-one was injured, and passengers were not involved. The two vehicles used in the robbery were later found burned out in Vilvoorde.
Eight security officers were on duty at Zaventem at the time of the robbery, four of whom had been detailed to guard the Croatian president, who was in transit at the time.
“The Antwerp diamond sector could be at a competitive disadvantage to other diamond centres, which are keeping a jealous watch on Antwerp’s number one position in the trade,” said Caroline De Wolf, spokeswoman for the Antwerp World Diamond Centre. Antwerp currently handles 80% of the world’s rough diamonds and half of all polished stones. The diamonds stolen were mainly destined for India.