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France: 28kg (61lb) of Semtex (Plastic Explosive) Missing

July 19, 2008


Missing Semtex ‘left unguarded’

A depot in France from which a large quantity of powerful explosive went missing was poorly guarded, the regional head of security has said.

The storage of 28kg (61lb) of Semtex at the site near Lyon was “not usual and certainly not authorised”, Xavier de Fuerst also told the AFP news agency.

A search by anti-terrorist officers is under way, and the manager of the site has been suspended pending an inquiry.

Semtex is favoured by terrorists as it is odourless and difficult to detect.


‘Security failings’

Police said detonators were also missing and that they were treating the theft “very seriously”.

Police said the discovery that the Semtex was missing was made on Friday but admitted the explosives could have been taken up to a week ago.

In a statement released late on Friday the interior ministry said “security failings” had made the theft possible.

Semtex, which was first made in the Czech Republic, is used in mining and demolition work.

A bomb containing about half a kilogram of the explosive caused the blast which brought down Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, killing 270 people.


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