Grenades and explosives stolen from French base
France is to review security at all of its munitions depots after 40 grenades, 180 detonators and plastic explosives were stolen from a major base in southern France.
"Very well informed" thieves broke into the Miramas arms depot northwest of Marseille, southern France, in the early hours of Monday after cutting through two wire fences, according to judicial sources.
The Marseille prosecutor has launched an inquiry into "theft via a break-in by an organised gang and fraudulent entry of a military base". The defence ministry has also launched an administrative inquiry into the worrying robbery of enough explosives to "blow up any bank or, worse, commit a large-scale attack at a time when the terrorist threat is high in France," according to TF1, the French TV news channel.
Situated by the Berre lake, Miramas is a 250-hectare "logistics base" with rail access housing munitions used in external military operations, such as France's campaign to neutralise Islamists in Mali.
Around 250 military staff are present in the day but only a few guards at night at Miramais, according to the local mayor Frédéric Vigouroux, who said there had been a "change of command" in the past 10 days. "Miramas has stocked munitions since the First World War. It houses many soldiers, notably those as they prepare to leave for external military operations with the necessary munitions".
"This is being taken very seriously but we don't know the true extent of the theft yet, nor the causes - it could be anything, including the worst," he told TF1. (© Daily Telegraph London)