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French anti-terrorist officers are searching for 28kg (61lb) of Semtex explosive missing from a depot in the suburbs of the city of Lyon.
France's interior ministry confirmed an investigation was underway, saying the manager of the site had been suspended.
Semtex is a powerful explosive favoured by terrorist groups as it is odourless and practically impossible to detect.
Police said detonators were also missing and that they are treating the theft "very seriously".
The Real IRA, which was also responsible for the Omagh bombing in 1998, used just 2lb of the Semtex in the device that exploded in London in the early hours of Thursday morning. The explosive was part of a 1,000lb cache of Semtex that the republican splinter group took with them when they split from the Provisional IRA in 1997 and which has been added to by recent republican defectors.
Originally posted by bodrul
i smell a false flag coming up
The 28 kilograms of the explosive were discovered to be missing yesterday along with an unknown quantity of detonators, but the Interior Ministry said they could have been taken more than a week ago.
The Lyon depot is situated in a disused 19th century castle at Corbas near Lyon and is used by a civil defence unit to store explosives needed for bomb disposal workers.
“A theft of explosives used by bomb-disposal experts to destroy munitions retrieved from former battlefields has taken place,” said a statement from the Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie.