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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

Could global terrorists be behind weapons raid at Portugal armoury?

Authorities fear grenades and ammunition could be in the hands of arms traffickers

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has called for a wide-ranging investigation into the armoury raid  EPA/PAULO CUNHA
Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has called for a wide-ranging investigation into the armoury raid EPA/PAULO CUNHA

International terrorists and arms traffickers are believed to be behind a “very professional” raid on Portugal’s national armoury last week.

Portuguese authorities have broadened the scope of their investigation to include the theft of hand grenades and 9mm ammunition following the explosives and weapons raid at Tancos Air Base, 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Lisbon.

President de Sousa has called for a wide-reaching investigation into the raid and said preventative measures need to be taken immediately to prevent a similar theft in the future.

The country’s armed forces has not yet made public the full list of what was taken from the arsenal on June 28.

However, according to a list of stolen items destined for Spain’s anti-terror forces, the stash includes plastic explosives, ammunition cartridges and grenades, El Españo reports.

Defense Minister Azeredo Lopes called the theft a "very professional" job.

He said criminals broke in by cutting a hole in a perimeter fence and that he had informed Portugal's European Union and NATO partners of the theft.

Police, military police investigators and the National Counter-Terrorism Unit will assist the Portugal’s Public Prosecutor, according to the attorney general's office.

No further details of the investigation will be provided due to Portugal's judicial secrecy law, which forbids the release of information about open investigations.