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Home-made explosives

Swiss to hinder access to bomb-making materials

Switzerland intends to make it harder for people to get hold of ingredients to make home-made explosives. A reporting office is to be set up, it was announced on Friday.

Many terror attacks in recent years - including the one in Norway in 2011 by Anders Behring Breivik - involved explosive devices made from chemicals such as fertilisers, pesticides or swimming pool cleaning tablets, the Federal Office of Police (fedpol) said in a statement.

The European Union has restrictions across its member states on sales of these chemicals, known as precursors. But it is still possible to buy them in unlimited quantities in non-EU Switzerland.

“There is a real risk that criminals will get hold of these substances in Switzerland,” fedpol said.

A government experts group has drawn up measures on how to stop this happening, which were presented at a round table on Thursday. Fedpol said that participants delivered useful inputs to find “realistic, pragmatic and effective solutions”. The results will be put into a report for the government.

As an immediate measure, it was agreed that vendors could flag up transactions of a suspicious nature to a reporting office at fedpol. The aim is to catch any misuse at an early stage. Vendors will also be receiving information material, the statement said.

The 2014 EU regulation restricts the general public’s access to seven chemical substances. It also obliges vendors to ensure the appropriate labelling of restricted explosives precursors and to report any suspicious transactions involving these substances and other non-restricted substances considered of concern. 

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