Netherlands: Police arrest 7 Muslim terrorists plotting terror attack with car bombs, suicide belts
Dutch authorities on Thursday arrested seven Muslim terrorists who were plotting a major terror attack with hand grenades, automatic weapons and explosives belts, prosecutors said.
Three of the seven Muslim terrorists had previously been detained after attempting to join foreign terrorists abroad. The lead terrorist was a 34-year-old Iraqi who was convicted in 2017 for traveling abroad to join ISIS.
The terrorists, aged 21-34, were arrested in four locations across the Netherlands after nearly six months of investigations by authorities.
“The suspects were in search of AK47s, handguns, hand grenades, explosive vests and raw materials for several (car) bombs,” prosecutors said in a statement. They will be brought before a judge on Friday.
Police were initially tipped off by the intelligence service that the main suspect was targeting “a large event in the Netherlands where there would be a lot of victims.”
Minister for Justice and Security Ferd Grapperhaus told Dutch national broadcaster NOS that police acted in time to prevent an attack.
“In a sense it is serious, but luckily it’s also good news – a terrorist cell that was plotting an attack has been taken down,” Grapperhaus said. “They weren’t so far that it was a danger to society, in the sense that it was nearly too late. But they were quite far in their preparations.”
The Dutch anti-terror coordinator’s office said in a tweet Thursday that the allegedly foiled plot fit the current threat profile for the Netherlands, which is at four on a scale that tops out at five. The office did not raise the level following the arrests.
“Jihad networks are also active in the Netherlands with the intention to plot attacks in Europe,” the office said. “Today’s arrests must be seen in that light.”
The arrests took place nearly a month after an Afghan Muslim terrorist was shot by police at Amsterdam’s central station after stabbing two American tourists.