Spanish and French authorities are concerned that 28 kg of Semtex which was discovered to have gone missing last week from a depot near Lyon in France may be in the hands of the Basque terrorist group ETA. 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. The depot, in a disused 19th century fort at Corbas, is used by a civil defence unit charged with the job of blowing up bombs and ammunition left over from the two world wars. The site had been bought by the interior ministry in 2005, and police said existing security measures had fallen into disrepair. They said detonators were also missing and that they were treating the theft “very seriously”. 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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