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Belgian diamond heist is one of biggest recent hold-ups

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Armed robbers made off with $50 million (37 million euros) worth of diamonds at Brussels airport on Monday in one of the biggest heists ever.

Below is a breakdown of previous major recent hold-ups:

- December 20, 2004: Robbers make off with 26.5 million pounds (31 million euros, $41 million), from the Northern Bank in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The heist is blamed on the Irish Republican Army.

- February 25, 2005: Armed robbers hold up an armoured car belonging to Dutch airline KLM and make off with 75 million euros worth of diamonds and jewels at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport.

- August 8, 2005: Thieves dig an 80-meter (260-foot) tunnel into a Brazilian Central Bank branch in the northeastern city of Fortaleza and steal 164 million reals ($82 million, 62 million euros), in Brazil's biggest-ever bank heist.

- February 21, 2006: An armed gang seizes 53.1 million pounds in a raid on a cash depot in Tonbridge, Kent, England in what is Britain's biggest cash robbery ever.

- March 5, 2007: Diamonds valued at 21 million euros are stolen from a bank in the northern Belgian city of Antwerp.

- December 4, 2008: Four armed robbers make off with diamonds and valuables worth 85 million euros from the Harry Winston jewellers in Paris, setting a record for this kind of theft in France.

- August 6, 2009: Robbers pull off what is thought to be Britain's biggest jewellery heist in a 40-million-pound raid at Graff Diamonds in central London.

- Further back in time, the August 8, 1963 Great Train Robbery in Britain was dubbed by the press the "hold up of the century", not only because of its size, but also because of the audacity and skill with which it was carried out.

During the heist, the Glasgow-London mail train was held up by a 15-strong gang, including the infamous Ronnie Biggs. The robbers made off with almost 2.6 million pounds-- worth around 58 million euros today.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130219/belgian-diamond-heist-one-biggest-recent-hold-ups