'Major terrorist attack' foiled in Netherlands, 7 arrested - prosecutor

iStock [www.istockphoto.com]

Dutch police arrested seven men on Thursday suspected of plotting to carry out a "major terrorist attack" at a public event using explosive belts and an AK-47 assault rifle, the public prosecutor's office said.

"Police arrested seven men on Thursday... suspected of being at a very advanced stage of preparation for a major terrorist attack in the Netherlands," it said in a statement, adding one of the suspects had wanted to kill "many victims".

Prosecutors and investigators were "convinced that a terrorist attack was prevented" as a result of the arrests in the cities of Arnhem and Weert which followed a months-long police operation.

Officers had placed a group of people under surveillance, a central figure being a 34-year-old man of Iraqi origin convicted in 2017 of attempting to reach territory controlled by the jihadist Islamic State group, the statement added.

Those arrested ranged in age from 21 to 34.

The suspects came from Arnhem, Rotterdam and villages close to those two cities. Two others in the group also had convictions related to attempts to travel to Iraq or Syria.

"One of the men from Arnhem wanted to commit an attack with a group at a major event in the Netherlands and kill many victims, according to the Dutch Intelligence Service (AIVD)," the prosecutor's office said.

The target of the planned attack has not yet been identified by police.

The suspects are expected to appear in court in Rotterdam on Friday.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When assisting your child with remote learning this year, did you:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Follow the school's comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) curriculum?
13% - 367 votes
Adjust the CSE curriculum to suit the family's morals?
23% - 642 votes
Ignore the schools CSE programme and do your own teaching?
63% - 1723 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.18
(+0.53)
ZAR/GBP
20.43
(+0.01)
ZAR/EUR
18.45
(+0.35)
ZAR/AUD
11.30
(+0.28)
ZAR/JPY
0.15
(+0.03)
Gold
1840.60
(+0.64)
Silver
24.12
(+0.49)
Platinum
1032.00
(+2.58)
Brent Crude
47.96
(+1.75)
Palladium
2310.00
(-3.44)
All Share
58947.48
(+1.14)
Top 40
54171.85
(+1.29)
Financial 15
11399.33
(+0.82)
Industrial 25
79681.43
(+0.78)
Resource 10
56621.26
(+2.07)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo