Home Dutch News Van Gogh ‘killer’ had possible al-Qaeda links

Van Gogh ‘killer’ had possible al-Qaeda links

Published on November 04, 2004

4 November 2004

AMSTERDAM — Police are reportedly investigating a possible connection between the man suspected of killing Dutch filmmaker and columnist Theo van Gogh and the terror network al-Qaeda.

The Netherlands-born suspect — identified as Mohammed B., 26, holding Dutch and Moroccan nationality — also had contact with eight other men arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of terrorist activities.

The arrests were made as police raided B.’s house in Marianne Philipsstraat in Amsterdam-Slotermeer and four other homes in the Dutch capital on Wednesday. Police seized computers, videos and literature.

The men are suspected of being part of a criminal gang, but it is not yet clear if they are also being linked to involvement in the murder of Van Gogh, who was shot and stabbed on an Amsterdam street at about 8.45am on Tuesday. 

They were identified by their nationality — six Moroccans, an Algerian and a Spanish-Moroccan. They are aged between 19 and 27.

B. is reported to be an acquaintance of the eight suspects, having stayed at the raided premises. The authorities previously arrested several suspects at the raided homes in Amsterdam West and North last year on allegations they were involved in the bloody terror attacks in Casablanca.

Amsterdam chief public prosecutor Leo de Wit said the men arrested on Wednesday were not among those arrested last year.

The latest raids were based on the information gathered last year. B.’s address was also found among the investigation notes. The same addresses were placed under surveillance again from Tuesday night.

Five suspects were arrested in October 2003 on terrorism charges, but were released shortly after due to a lack of evidence.

The Dutch intelligence service AIVD claims the suspects were in contact with the brain behind the 16 May 2003 Casablanca attacks, a Moroccan identified as Naoufel. Forty-five people were killed, including 12 suicide bombers.

Media reports had earlier indicated that B. might have held links with Samir A., a Muslim man arrested in the Netherlands in June for allegedly plotting bomb attacks on Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport and the Dutch Parliament. He was one of the October 2003 arrested suspects.

Meanwhile, De Wit has said the letter left on Van Gogh’s body was inspired by a “radical Islamic conviction”. The suspect was also allegedly carrying a suicide farewell letter at the time of his arrest.

Some 75 police officers have been assigned to the murder investigation and Van Gogh’s suspected killer has undergone an operation on his injured leg. He was shot during an exchange of fire with police before he was arrested.

He has been transferred to the penitentiary hospital in Scheveningen and is only being allowed access to his lawyer.

[Copyright Expatica News + Novum Nieuws 2004]

Subject: Dutch news