UK & World News
Armed Robbers Attack Saudi Prince's Motorcade
Armed robbers attacked the motorcade of a Saudi prince in the north of Paris and escaped with ?250,000, police have said.
The Kalashnikov assault rifle-wielding assailants also took what Paris-based newspapers called "sensitive" documents during the hold up, as well as the equivalent of £200,000.
The 10-vehicle convoy was on its way from a luxury hotel on the Champs Elysees to an airport in Le Bourget, said police.
Attackers, described by some of the French press as looking like "commandos", carried out the raid some time after 9pm on Sunday night around the Porte de la Chapelle area, in the 18th arrondissement.
The first vehicle in the convoy, understood to be a Mercedes minivan, was deflected and brought to a halt.
The vehicle, together with its three occupants, was then driven off until a short while later when the occupants were released.
The Mercedes and a BMW used by the robbers were later found abandoned and burnt out in Saint-Mesmes, about 25 miles away, to the northeast of Paris.
The stolen van was described as a supply vehicle, a police source added.
Police found two ?500 notes, documents in Arabic and medication near the wrecks of the two cars.
A source close to the investigation confirmed that diplomatic documents had been taken, but told AFP: "For the moment, we have no details about the nature of these documents.
"They could be sensitive documents but they could equally well be unimportant."
Another BMW used by the gang, thought to number between five and eight, remained missing.
The Saudi embassy in Paris is yet to comment.
One source close to the investigation told AFP: "If they were looking for sensitive documents, that changes the nature of the crime."
"It will no longer be an armed robbery, but something more complicated," the source added.
The three occupants of the stolen vehicle were unharmed and no other injuries were reported. The suspects remain at large.
The investigation has been handed to Paris's 'Repression of Banditry Brigade', which is responsible for handling large armed robbery inquiries.
A police source told AFP: "It's quite an unusual attack. They were obviously well-informed. It's true that it's quite a rare way of operating."