Dutch terror suspects ‘had 100kg of fertilizer for car bomb’

Dutch police special forces arresting a suspect in Weert, Netherlands on Thursday. (Reuters)
Updated 28 September 2018

Dutch terror suspects ‘had 100kg of fertilizer for car bomb’

THE HAGUE: Dutch investigators said Friday they found a large quantity of bomb-making materials including fertilizer likely to be used in a car bomb following the arrest of seven terror suspects.
The seven were seized Thursday in the cities of Arnhem and Weert by elite Dutch anti-terror units and are suspected of wanting to carry out a “major” attack in the country.
They briefly appeared for the first time in the Rotterdam District court on Friday on terror-related charges, where their case was remanded until next week.
The men, who range from 21 to 34 years, were not named and will remain under maximum security conditions — which means they are only allowed to talk to their lawyers.
During Thursday’s search “police confiscated a substantial amount of raw materials to make bombs at the suspects’ homes,” the Dutch public prosecution service said Friday.
Officers also found “100 kilogrammes of fertilizer, possibly for use in a car bomb,” the prosecutors added in a statement.
Officers had previously placed a group of people under surveillance, including a 34-year-old Dutch man of Iraqi origin who was convicted in 2017 of attempting to reach territory controlled by Daesh.
The suspects came from Arnhem, the port city of 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.
The men are suspected of wanting to attack civilians at a major event in the Netherlands, the Dutch secret service (AIVD) said, but a possible target was not named.
The Netherlands has been largely spared the kind of terror attacks which have rocked its closest European neighbors in the past few years, but there has been a series of recent scares.
Thursday’s arrests came three months after two men were arrested in Rotterdam on suspicion of preparing attacks in France and the Netherlands.
The arrests also come a month after a 19-year-old Afghan with a German residence permit stabbed and injured two American tourists at Amsterdam’s busy Central Station before being shot and wounded.
The likelihood of a terror attack in the Netherlands “remained substantial,” the Dutch anti-terror agency NCTV said last week, with terror threat levels remaining at level four out of five.


Russia says suspected mercenaries detained by Belarus were going to Latin America

Updated 03 August 2020

Russia says suspected mercenaries detained by Belarus were going to Latin America

  • Belarusian authorities have said they suspect the men entered their country to plot “acts of terrorism” and destabilize it before an Aug. 9 presidential election
  • Russia has close relations with a number of Latin American countries including Venezuela, and sent dozens of military personnel to Caracas last year

MOSCOW: A Russian diplomat said on Monday a group of more than 30 suspected Russian mercenaries detained in Belarus last week were only passing through Minsk and were on their way to an unnamed Latin American state.
Belarusian authorities have said they suspect the men entered their country to plot “acts of terrorism” and destabilize it before an Aug. 9 presidential election.
Russian officials have dismissed the accusation and described the men as employees of a private security firm. The Russian state says it does not use mercenaries.
The standoff could further strain relations between Minsk and its traditional ally Russia, which soured after the neighbors failed to agree on an oil supply contract for this year.
“Their final destination was one of the states in the Latin American region,” the diplomat, Kirill Pletnyev, was quoted as saying on Monday by the Russian RIA news agency.
Belarus granted Pletnyev consular access to the detained men, RIA added. His quotes did not name the Latin American country or give any more details on the identity of the men.
Russia has close relations with a number of Latin American countries including Venezuela, and sent dozens of military personnel to Caracas last year, describing them as military specialists.
On Friday, Alexander Agafonov, the head of the Belarusian investigative group that is handling the case, said the arrested men — some of whom were wearing army fatigues — had given “contradictory accounts” about their plans.
He was quoted as saying that 11 of the arrested men had told authorities they planned to fly on to Venezuela, 15 to Turkey, two to Cuba and one to Syria. Another said he did not know his destination, while three refused to make a statement.
Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko, who has said he wants a full explanation from Russia, faces his biggest electoral test in years on Aug. 9 as public anger swells over his handling of COVID-19, the economy and human rights.