Terror alert still in force as Dutch tighten security

12th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

12 July 2004 , AMSTERDAM − The heightened terrorist alert issued for the Netherlands on Friday will remain temporarily in force with security tightened at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and several main motorways to thwart possible attacks.

12 July 2004

AMSTERDAM − The heightened terrorist alert issued for the Netherlands on Friday will remain temporarily in force with security tightened at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and several main motorways to thwart possible attacks.

The Dutch government took extra security precautions on Friday afternoon and evening at various places across the nation and the Interior Ministry said the heightened security will remain in force after the weekend, newspaper De Volkskrant reported.

The additional security measures are visible to the general public, with extra supervision posts or an increased police presence. The Schiphol motorway tunnel and the A4 have been place under extra security.

Security has been tightened at the Dutch Parliament in The Hague and other unspecified areas are also under tighter surveillance.

The government resolved to take the extra security measures after the Dutch secret service AIVD revealed it has indications that several Islamic extremists are possibly preparing terrorist attacks.

It is not yet known how many buildings and areas have been placed under additional security and the Interior Ministry has also refused to reveal the nature and extent of the terror alert, Dutch public news service NOS reported.

The Netherlands Waterworks Association, Vewin, has refused to disclose details of extra security measures taken in response to the alert. Waterworks companies have their own security regulations, which were heightened after the 11 September attacks in the US.

But the government holds final responsibility for waterworks security and can heighten precautions in times of large-scale terrorist threats, Dutch associated press ANP reported.

The Rotterdam Municipal Harbour Company said it has no indications that additional security measures have been taken. It said the Rotterdam Council is responsible for the issuing of extra security measures, but a council spokesman refused to comment on the matter.

The national police force KLPD said on Sunday that there were no additional security measures taken at Amsterdam Central Station. The KLPD station sergeant also said no special instructions had been received from the government for the capital's train station, but that the Schiphol station is under heightened security.

There was no additional security seen on Saturday at the DFDS Seaways terminal in IJmuiden, where a ferry boat departs daily to Newcastle in the UK.

But the South Korean security service NIS has found on a website warnings from Islamic extremists of attacks against ships that carry US freight. A Dutch shipping company was reportedly included on the list.

Meanwhile, a helicopter was seen patrolling the sky as European Transport Ministers met in Rotterdam on Saturday for the opening of the first section of the Betuwelijn rail freight route.

The cabinet is currently devising a new alarm system similar to that used in the US. The system uses a colour code − ranging from green to red − to signify the alarm phase and must still be approved by Parliament. It is not known what category the present threat falls under.

The last time that visible extra security precautions were taken was at the end of September 2001 when the Coen and Zeeburger motorway tunnels in Amsterdam and the Botlek and Benelux tunnels were placed under military and police security in response to an anonymous bomb threat. The threat was never carried out.

Security at several embassies in The Hague was also sharpened after the 11 September terror attacks in New York and Washington in 2001.

The Dutch gave political, but not military support to the US-led invasion of Iraq last year and there are currently 2,072 Dutch soldiers in southern Iraq. The peacekeeping mission was recently extended for eight months and the number of troops will be reduced as replaced soldiers return home.

A lecturer with Erasmus University in Rotterdam and a defence correspondent with Dutch weekly newspaper Vrij Nederland, Ko Colyn, told Expatica in March that the Netherlands was an easily accessible society, making it a suitable terrorist target.

But he downplayed talk that the nation was high on a list of possible attack targets, claiming that other nations such as Britain and Italy were more at threat.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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