Saturday, July 19, 2008
Counter-terrorism police in France are searching for 28 kg (~61 lbs) of the plastic explosive Semtex and detonators that have gone missing.
The explosives were discovered to be missing on Friday, but could have left the facility up to a week ago. They were stored at a site in Corbas, near Lyon in east-central France, which disposes of left-over munitions from the two world wars.
The Minister of the Interior, Michèle Alliot-Marie said that the incident was due to "known failings within the site's own security." She added that the director of the site, which was originally a 19th century fort, has been "immediately suspended."
"A theft of explosives used by bomb disposal experts to destroy munitions retrieved from former battlefields has taken place on a site adjacent to the supply depot," read a statement from the ministry, officially calling it a theft.
"The presence of explosives in this site is normal, but the investigation has to find out how they could have been stolen," an unnamed source told Agence France-Presse.
Semtex was invented in 1966 and is a malleable plastic explosive. It is noted for being odorless and notorious for its involvement in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing in 1988.
== Sources ==
Agence France-Presse. "French police hunt missing explosives" — The Age, July 19, 2008
"French police probe missing plastic explosives" — Thomson Reuters, July 18, 2008
Agence France-Presse. "French police hunt stolen explosives" — France 24, July 18, 2008
"French search for stolen Semtex" — BBC News Online, July 18, 2008
"Explosives missing from French civil security site" — CNN, July 18, 2008