Arrest of Muslim teen 'led to terror warning'
22 July 2004, AMSTERDAM — The arrest of a 17-year-old Muslim male in Rotterdam at the end of June was one of the most important reasons for the Dutch government's decision to issue a terrorism alert on 9 July, it has been revealed.
22 July 2004
AMSTERDAM — The arrest of a 17-year-old Muslim male in Rotterdam at the end of June was one of the most important reasons for the Dutch government's decision to issue a terrorism alert on 9 July, it has been revealed.
The youth, who has not been named, is suspected of planning a terrorist attack in the Netherlands, the Interior Ministry confirmed to national news service NOS.
The suspect was arrested on 30 June by police in the port city of Rotterdam in relation to an armed robbery. A search of his home revealed materials, including plans of buildings and installations, suggesting he was linked to terrorist activities, the Interior Ministry claimed.
A judge extended the suspect's detention in custody on 8 July.
The following day, the Dutch government declared a terror alert and later warned that targets in the west of the country were most at risk of attack. Security has been stepped up in response to the alert around Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport and other major infrastructural facilities.
A ministry spokesman said the arrest of the youth "played a role" in the heightened terror alert along with other information from within the Netherlands and abroad. He refused to say more about the suspect except that he is a Muslim and a Dutch national.
He also says that the terror alert remains unchanged.
Interior Minister Johan Remkes caused confusion after he said last week that a letter, supposedly from Al-Qaeda, had been delivered to the UN headquarters in New York warning of terror attacks in Brussels, Belgium, and the Netherlands. He admitted on Monday that he had been mistaken and no such letter appeared to exist.
A ministry spokesman said that Remkes' initial statement had referred to an AIVD inquiry into a rumour among journalists that an al-Qaeda letter had been sent to the UN. The spokesman also admitted there had been a misunderstanding.
Defence expert Ko Colyn told NOS news on Wednesday evening that the youth arrested in Rotterdam fitted the profile of the 150 Muslim suspects constantly monitored by the Dutch security service AIVD. He said the suspects include many teenagers who are an "interesting and malleable" target group for terrorist recruiters.
On Monday, it was reported that two men — a Syrian and a Lebanese man — were arrested on 17 July on suspicion of planning to attack soldiers taking part in the annual Nijmegen Four Day March.
It was reported that the suspects were possibly part of a long inactive terrorist cell, but it has not been confirmed if the threatened attack is linked to the general terror alert. Neither suspect was armed at the time of arrest.
The main suspect has reportedly been identified as a Syrian, Yvar H., 37, who entered the Netherlands in 1989 as an asylum seeker.
He has been under surveillance by the AIVD for some time and lives with his wife and two young daughters in the Gelderland village Ooij, newspaper De Telegraaf reported on Monday. He was arrested while shopping with his family in Nijmegen on Saturday and police also raided his home, allegedly seizing goods, photos and documents.
The suspect's house is considered as a meeting point or possibly a stop over for other suspicious foreigners. He allegedly gave accommodation to another foreigner — possibly the second arrested suspect — in the week prior to his arrest.
Defence lawyers identified the second suspect as a 33-year-old man from Lebanon with no fixed address in the Netherlands. It has been alleged that he went to police voluntarily and claimed he had been approached to take part in an attack.
He was questioned for some time and then arrested, but an Arnhem Court judge said on Tuesday there was insufficient reason to extend his remand detention.
But the man is still in detention because he is an illegal alien and faces deportation despite alerting the police to a possible attack.
Officials at the national office of the Public Prosecutor (OM) said the arrest of the two men was not connected in any way to the arrest of the Rotterdam teen.
It has also been reported this week that the Nijmegen case was not connected to the decision to declare the terror alert.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news + terrorism + Dutch terror alert + al-Qaeda