Hundreds of thousands of euros taken in early-morning attack

A masked gang armed with machine guns and pistols robbed the Grand Casino in Basel, Switzerland, Sunday night, escaping with hundreds of thousands of euros.

The thieves struck the high-end gambling hall in the early morning hours while some 600 players and staff were busy around the 15 gaming tables and 357 slot machines.

According to a report in The Independent, the gang burst into the building by smashing down the entrance door with a sledgehammer. They immediately started firing rounds at the chandeliers in the building's main foyer. Several guests and staff were hurled to the floor.

“It was like something out of an action film, and very frightening,” said a casino spokesman. “We are all very shocked.”

While terrified gamblers and staff obeyed orders to lie on the floor, the gunmen filled bags with cash from tills in the casino’s basement and ground floor. The gang attempted to shoot open the locks on steel gates barring their way to the casino’s main safe but was unsuccessful. They then ran off with their haul to two grey Audis and sped away.

Police said nobody was shot, but a woman casino guest was pulled out of her car and beaten by the gunmen after she attempted to block their path by parking across the exit road before they escaped.

Witnesses said the cars had French license plates and fled in the direction of France.

French and Swiss police were reported to have set up a joint investigation unit.