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Video still of the raid. Photo supplied by Dutch police

Major terror attack thwarted in the Netherlands

Seven foreigners have been arrested for planning a major terrorist attack in the Netherlands. They had intended to strike a major public event with firearms, hand grenades, and car bombs.

Published: September 28, 2018, 8:30 am

    According to De Telegraaf, the Openbaar Ministerie, [Public Prosecution Service] confirmed the planned attack.

    Three men were from Arnhem, two from Rotterdam, one from Huissen and one from Vlaardingen. The suspects were arrested at the end of the afternoon in Arnhem and Weert. The two men in Weert were staying there in a rented holiday home.

    On Thursday, as they were stopped at their rented abode, they were arrested by the anti-terror squads. According to local media, shot(s) were fired by a special unit. On images of the arrest, there is blood on the ground. The white van, with French license plates, and two passenger cars belonging to the foreigners have been confiscated, according to weertdegekste.nl.

    The police did not want to confirm whether an agent had fired shots in Weert, but one or more suspects suffered minor injuries.

    The ages of the armed suspects are said to range from 21 to 34 years. During the arrests, for which various anti-terror units were deployed, the police found five small arms.

    “In a months-long criminal investigation, the police became aware of a group centered around the 34-year-old Hardi N of Iraqi origin from Arnhem, who was convicted in 2017 for attempting to travel to the Islamic State’s battlefield”, according to the Public Prosecution Service, which says it assumes that an attack has been prevented with the arrests.

    The immigrants had been looking for AK47s, small arms, hand grenades, bombs and raw materials for one or more [car] bombs. The OM assumes that the suspects wanted to strike at two locations at the same time: both an attack with bombs and Kalashnikov AK47s at an event as well as a car bomb.

    On Thursday a police helicopter could be spotted hovering above Arnhem, as Twitterers noticed.

    The suspects have been detained and are therefore not allowed to have contact with each other or other people — only with their lawyer. On Friday they will appear before the examining magistrate.

    In Rotterdam on Thursday evening, in two closely situated houses, raids were conducted and the homes were searched.

    The criminal investigatory team is still looking into the seven terror suspects. “We can not be concrete about it yet. It is clear that the people were looking for a big event,” says the national criminal investigator Wilbert Paulissen.

    During the Thursday’s actions, the police deployed about four hundred people, the police chief said.

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