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7 women held hostage by gang in gun raid drama

SEVEN Irishwomen were held hostage by armed raiders at their holiday villa on the Algarve today.

The terrified tourists were having a party by the swimming pool when two masked men carrying handguns burst into the property. The women handed over cash, passports, jewellery, credit cards and laptops before the two gunmen fled in a high powered BMW with two other gang members inside.

The terrifying raid took place at 1am at a detached villa in Sesmarias, two miles from the popular resort of Albufeira, southern Portugal. "The women are in a state of shock. They were by the swimming pool when two armed men with their faces masked surprised them," a source told the Herald.

"They took jewellery, money, computers, electronic diaries and credit cards."

"They are in a state of shock and don't want to speak with anybody," the source added.

The four men, thought to be Eastern Europeans, were being hunted by police today.

The Irish women, all aged around 30, were left in a state of shock but were not harmed during the terrifying incident.

The robbery is being investigated by the Judicial Police.

Local newspaper Correio da Manha said one of the victims is a banker in Ireland.


Four of the women had arrived together on holiday and three others had joined them later at the large villa.

Irish holidaymakers visiting Albufeira have been victims of a number of violent crimes this year.

Dubliner David Hoban, 44, was slashed with a knife and badly beaten by a gang of four men in April.

In June an Irish couple in their mid-20s were assaulted as they returned to their hotel following a night out.

Two British men have also died after being attacked late at night in the resort.

Ian Haggarth, 50, from Dunston, near Gateshead, died in hospital ten days after being beaten unconscious by four men.

And Lance Corporal Darren Lackie, 21, died in what his family believe was a brutal mugging on March 31.

Albufeira mayor Desiderio Silva recently called for more police officers on the beat in the town after it was revealed that one third of the 170 National Republican Guard there work desk jobs.