Netherlands aware of fertiliser abuse

25th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Netherlands has been aware for a long time of the possible abuse of fertiliser by terrorists to build bombs.

Industry representatives and the ministry for the environment signed an agreement in 2007 including measures to guarantee the safe storage of fertiliser ingredients and the ability to trace them if they threaten to fall into the wrong hands.

The justice ministry says a number of government institutions are working closely together to prevent attacks involving home-made explosives. These institutions include the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism, the infrastructure and environment ministry, the national intelligence service AIVD and the military intelligence service MIVD, the army’s bomb disposal service, the national police, the Netherlands Forensic Institute, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment and the Joint Taskforce Counter-IED. Regular meetings are being held with the major chemicals producers and sector organisations.

In 2010 the national police created a hot-line where citizens can report suspicious transactions involving chemicals used to produce either explosives or drugs. The Netherlands Forensic Institute is engaged in developing a data base for the armed forces and the police which will make possible a ‘fast, smart and mobile’ search for information about home-made explosives. A pilot is ongoing.

The Norwegian authorities are investigating the method of working used by the suspect in Friday’s double terror attack and the exact composition of the explosives that he used. The Dutch justice ministry said it was not yet clear whether European rules for the trade in chemicals which can be used in explosives need to be tightened.

The European Union is also working on an action plan against explosives. One of its objectives is to prevent fertiliser being used as a bomb by lowering its percentage of ammonium nitrate.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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