Emergency refugee accommodation attacked in the Netherlands

Amsterdam - Some 20 hooded people have attacked an emergency hostel for refugees in the central Dutch city of Woerden, a police spokesperson said on Saturday.

They threw powerful fireworks and eggs at the building during the night and tried to force their way inside.

It was the first such large-scale attack in the Netherlands, the spokesperson said, adding that police officers arrested 10 people.

Some 150 refugees from Syria and Eritrea have been living in a sports hall in the city near Utrecht since Wednesday.

The Dutch government criticized the attack, with the minister responsible for asylum issues, Klaas Dijkhoff, saying the attackers must be severely punished. "Refugees must be safe," he said.

The refugees, many of whom are in families, were deeply shocked, Woerden Mayor Victor Molkenboer told Dutch television. "Most of them come from a war zone. Such loud explosions give them a traumatic experience," he said.

Witnesses reported that the attackers were aged between 20 and 40.

The sports hall was only intended as emergency accommodation for a week. Police said they have stepped up security there.

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