Monday, February 07, 2005

Swiss Forces Storm Spanish Consulate

Earlier today three unidentified gunmen seized the Spanish consulate in Berne. They held several people hostage for seven hours until the Swiss special forces stormed the building. The gunmen escaped and are on the loose.

No confirmation on the motive behind the attack or the identity of the attackers. "In Madrid, Spain’s foreign minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, called it an attempted robbery." But we all remember just how much to trust the initial announcements from Spanish officials.

Update: The press has latched on the idea that the guys who attacked the consulate were robbers. Since they have not been caught and to my knowledge the former hostages have not spoken publicly I'm not sure why this is becoming the story. But it raises several questions.

Why would three guys with knives and at least one gun rob the Spanish consulate? How much money can the consulate have? Don't other, even easier targets have more cash? Why risk the heat of robbing a foreign consulate? Couldn't they rob a dozen different stores with at least as much cash and avoid risking an international incident? They had to know that robbing a consulate in broad daylight would bring out the special forces. Why not just rob a local shop and deal with the regular police? Why take all this extra risk? I've seen enough heist movies to know that this doesn't make a whole lot of sense, at least given what we know.

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