Three gunmen killed in Brazil airport raid, kidnapping: police

Sao Paulo (AFP) –


Heavily armed gunmen raided an airport in Brazil on Thursday, officials said, stealing money from an armored truck before fleeing and taking a mother and baby hostage.

Three attackers were killed during the hourslong drama that started at 10 am (1300 GMT) at the Viracopos airport cargo terminal, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Sao Paulo, a spokeswoman for the military police told AFP.

Two of the criminals were killed and a police officer was wounded during an exchange of fire at the terminal.

Flights were suspended for 20 minutes, the airport operator said.

A number of trucks were used to block a highway leading to the airport, apparently to thwart a police response to the brazen attack.

At least one assailant escaped to a nearby residential neighborhood, taking a mother and her baby hostage in their home, the police spokeswoman said.

The hostages were freed after a sniper shot dead the attacker, the G1 news website reported.

It is not clear how many gunmen were involved in the robbery. They gained entry to the cargo terminal by driving two pickup trucks resembling those used by aviation officials, the airport operator said.

They made off with an unknown sum of money from an armored truck owned by US company Brink's, according to police.

Police recovered a machine gun used in the attack, G1 said.

The assault comes three months after the theft of $30 million worth of gold from Sao Paulo's international airport.

Brink's had transported the precious metal to the airport.