The news of a thwarted terror attack in the Netherlands had quite an impact yesterday, it seems we escaped a big Bataclan-like attack in the Netherlands. Time for an update!
Seven arrests in Weert and Arnhem. House searches in Arnhem, Rotterdam, Vlaardingen and Huissen. And a deployment of 400 police officers: after months of investigation, the police and the judiciary intervened on Thursday with a show of force. With the police action, according to the authorities, a major terror attack in the Netherlands was foiled. What was going on here?
The investigation into the possible attack and terrorist cell
In April 2018, a criminal investigation began focusing on a 34 year old man, with information from the AIVD. He would have wanted to carry out an attack on a major event in the Netherlands. The intention was that there would be many victims. At the same time, according to the Public Prosecution Service, the suspects wanted to detonate a car bomb at another location.
The suspects were looking for Kalashnikovs, small arms, hand grenades, bombs and such to use for the attack. This month the investigation gained momentum because the preparations of the group seemed to be at an advanced stage, says the Public Prosecution Service.
Prime suspect: Nardi N.
That 34 year old is is Hardi N. He is seen as the ringleader of the group. In 2014 he was arrested on suspicion of leaving for Syria to join Al Queda. He said in 2015, during his trial, that never had the intention to join a battle group. “I am a believer, but not a radical one.”
Despite this, in 2016 he was sentenced to one and a half years in prison for the preparation of terrorist crimes. This sentence was converted into an appeal in 3 months in 2017 and 21 months conditionally, with a probation period of 3 years. Anyways, save to say that the Dutch justice system wasn’t harsh enough for him.
The aftermath: pride and the images
Minister Kajsa Ollongren of Interior Affairs said in a reaction to be proud of the AIVD and the cooperation with the Public Prosecution Service and the police. Justice Minster Grapperhaus said shortly after the news became known: “In a sense, this is violent and scary news, but fortunately good news too. A terrorist cell was arrested and rolled up.”
The police also released a video on twitter of the arrests, one can clearly see the massive deployment of police officers for thwarting this terrorist group.
— DutchReview (@Dutchreviewing) September 27, 2018