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Gunmen seize papers, cash from Saudi Embassy convoy in Paris

By Marion Lory and Susannah Cullinane, CNN
August 18, 2014 -- Updated 1635 GMT (0035 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Saudi Arabia denies it was an embassy car
  • Gunmen stopped a Saudi convoy, seizing cash and diplomatic papers
  • A prince was in the convoy, but the men seemed focused on the contents of one vehicle, he said
  • Le Parisien website reported that the gunmen were armed with Kalashnikov rifles

(CNN) -- Gunmen attacked a Saudi Embassy convoy in Paris on Sunday, stealing 250,000 euros ($334,000) and diplomatic documents, French police say.

According to a police union spokesman, a Saudi prince was traveling with the motorcade, but the gunmen appeared to be most interested in the contents of one of the vehicles, forcing it to a stop by brandishing automatic weapons, but without firing a shot.

The spokesman described the stolen documents as "sensitive."

The gunmen's car was later found burned out and with the license plates removed. There was no sign of the gunmen, and police are investigating.

Le Parisien said that the attack took place near Porte de la Chapelle in the city's 18th administrative district and that the gunmen were armed with Kalashnikov rifles.

The website said Monday that the convoy of 12 vehicles was traveling from a hotel on the Champs-Elysees in central Paris to the Paris-Le Bourget Airport -- northeast of the city -- when two cars stopped it, seizing a minivan containing three people.

Le Monde said five to eight robbers were involved. The newspaper quoted an investigator as saying the crime would be more complex if the diplomatic documents had been its target.

Frederic Lagache, from the Alliance police union, described the offenders as "a heavily armed and determined group of individuals," French news agency AFP reported.

Saudi Arabia denied the car was an embassy vehicle.

Its embassy said the car was a rental and the driver was a Saudi citizen who was headed to the airport.

"On the way, the driver was forced to get out the car. The luggage and car were stolen," it said.

CNN's Marion Lory contributed to this report from Paris, and Susannah Cullinane reported from London.

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