Netherlands, Saying It Foiled a Major Terrorist Attack, Arrests 7

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BRUSSELS — The authorities within the Netherlands mentioned on Friday that that they had foiled “very superior” plans for a big, multisite terrorist assault, arresting seven males and seizing weapons and bomb-making supplies.

The arrests have been a part of a coordinated police operation on Thursday throughout a number of cities and cities, officers mentioned.

The Netherlands has not skilled a significant assault within the wave of terrorist exercise that has occurred in Western Europe since 2015.

“The suspects have been on the lookout for AK-47s, handguns, hand grenades, bomb belts and the constructing supplies for a number of automobile bombs,” and for coaching of their use, in response to a press release from the Public Prosecutor’s Workplace in The Hague.

Investigators mentioned that they suppose the lads needed to make use of bombs and AK-47s to assault a mass occasion, whereas concurrently detonating a automobile bomb elsewhere, and that the police weren’t sure of their precise targets.

The suspects had made vital progress of their efforts to acquire “AK-47s and bomb belts — actually terribly harmful stuff,” the Dutch justice minister, Ferdinand Grapperhaus, mentioned on nationwide tv. “However they hadn’t superior to this point menace to the inhabitants was imminent, or that it was nearly too late,” he added.

Whereas terrorist assaults have occurred throughout Europe since early 2015, their quantity and depth have decreased. The Dutch authorities mentioned on Friday that this pattern was the results of elevated police surveillance within the Netherlands and the remainder of Europe, not due to a decline in terrorists’ dedication.

Info from the Dutch home intelligence service had led prosecutors to start investigating one suspect, who lived in Arnhem, in April, the Public Prosecutor’s Workplace mentioned in one other assertion. Monitoring him led them to the six others in cities and cities throughout the Netherlands. The seven, they mentioned, had fashioned a terrorist cell.

Authorities weren’t on the lookout for different suspects, the authorities mentioned, that the Dutch cell had no suspected ties with different cells exterior the nation.

“The investigation superior rapidly when the suspects began to make far-reaching progress,” the assertion continued.

On Thursday afternoon, the seven males, who’re between 21 and 34, have been arrested in Arnhem, a provincial city close to the jap border with Germany, and in Weert, a small city on the border with Belgium. 5 handguns have been seized in the course of the arrests.

On the identical time, cops raided the suspects’ properties. Three lived in Arnhem, two in Rotterdam and one every in Huissen and Vlaardingen.

In the course of the raids, police confiscated “sizable quantities” of uncooked supplies used to make explosives for bomb belts and 100 kilograms, or greater than 220 kilos, of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, an ingredient in automobile bombs, the authorities mentioned. The police additionally confiscated a rented bus in Weert.

Authorities weren’t on the lookout for different suspects, the authorities mentioned, that the Dutch cell had no suspected ties with different cells exterior the nation.

The Dutch menace degree remained at 4 out of 5, which means a terrorist assault is taken into account “seemingly.”

“The specter of an assault stays actual,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte mentioned on nationwide tv on Friday. “My name to everyone seems to be: All occasions simply proceed, the most important current we may give to those varieties is that we adapt our lives.”

Geert Wilders, a far-right populist politician and the chief of the key opposition social gathering within the Netherlands, reacted on Friday in a tweet calling Mr. Rutte a “coward” and a “capitulating Islam-lover” who had allowed “hundreds of jihadis” to enter the nation.

On Friday afternoon, the seven suspects have been led earlier than a choose in Rotterdam, who ordered them held in solitary confinement with entry solely to their legal professionals.

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