Dutch police foil major terrorist attack
On Thursday, September 27, Dutch police arrested seven men suspected of planning and preparing for a major terrorist attack in the Netherlands. The suspects are from Arnhem, Rotterdam, Huissen and Vlaardingen.
Terrorist suspects arrested in the Netherlands
The suspects who were arrested on Thursday, September 27, in Arnhem and Weert are suspected of being at an advanced stage of planning a terrorist attack. All suspects are men and their ages range from 21 to 34.
Three of the suspects were previously arrested for trying to travel abroad and join foreign militants. One of the men arrested, Hardi N., an Iraqi national, is said to be the leader of the group. Hardi N. was convicted on suspicion of trying to travel to Syria to fight for the Islamic State group (IS) in 2017.
What were the terrorists planning?
The Dutch Public Prosecutor (OM) began investigating Hardi N. in April 2018 after receiving information from the General Intelligence and Security Service of the Netherlands (AIVD). According to the AIVD, Hardi N. wanted to enact an attack at a large event, thereby creating as many victims as possible.
Hardi N. and six other men were arrested by anti-terrorism teams from the Dutch Special Interventions Service (DSI). At the time of arrest, they were in possession of five small handguns.
The men were trying to source AK47s, bomb materials, hand grenades and small firearms for their attack at a large event. They also wanted to set off a car bomb elsewhere. The exact event and target for their attack are not yet known.
Terrorism threat level in the Netherlands
Despite the arrests, the terrorism threat level in the Netherlands remains at “substantial”, namely four out of five. A “substantial” level means that the chance of a terrorist attack is real. The risk level will not be increased.