Amsterdam terrorist threat: inquiry continues

The Dutch authorities say the inquiry into a possible terrorist threat will continue; further arrests are not excluded. On Thursday, seven suspects with a dual Dutch and Moroccan citizenship were arrested after an anonymous tip-off from a caller in Brussels, Belgium.  The intended targets, including an IKEA outlet, and a Mediamarkt megastore in a South-Eastern suburb of Amsterdam were evacuated on Thursday and are expected to stay closed would re-opened on Friday. No details were given about a third presumed target.

The office of the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism (NCTb) said late on Thursday that the arrests would not lead to a change in the overall terrorist threat assessment, which currently is defined as ‘substantial’ – the second-highest level.

During a press briefing, more details were given about the family ties of one of the apprehended suspects and a person involved in the 2004 terrorist attacks in Spain.  The Amsterdam Police Commissioner, Bernard Welten, said the unnamed person died shortly after the Madrid bombings “due to a suicide action”. This is likely to refer to the events of 3 april 2004, when a group of cornered terrorists blew themselves up in an apartment in the Madrid suburb of Leganés.

The names of the dead terrorists published at the time were: Jamal Ahmidan (‘the Tunesian’), Serhane ben Abdelmajid Fakhet (‘the Chinese’), Allekema Lamari, Mohammed Oulad Akcha, Rachid Oulad Akcha, Abdennabi Koujaa and Asri Rifaat Anouar. The first two were believed to be ringleaders of the March 11th terrorist attacks in Madrid, which killed 191 people. The explosives with which they blew themselves up were of the same type as used on March 11th: Goma-2 Eco, commercially produced in Spain.

Over Hans de Vreij

Retired Dutch journalist. Covered EU, NATO, UN, security & defense. Was correspondent in Berlin, Brussels, Geneva, Prague. Studied Russian language & literature.
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