“This is an attack on my country.” Yes, that is exactly what it is. From AP, with thanks to all who sent this in:
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – Dutch police have arrested eight suspected Islamic radicals as part of the investigation into the brutal slaying of outspoken filmmaker Theo van Gogh, prosecutors said Wednesday.
The suspects were detained in the 24 hours following Van Gogh’s killing while he bicycled on an Amsterdam street, prosecution spokeswoman Dop Kruimel told The Associated Press.
Six detainees are of Moroccan origin, one is Algerian and the other has dual Spanish-Moroccan nationality, she said.
The suspect in the killing “” a 26-year-old suspected Muslim extremist with dual Moroccan-Dutch citizenship “” was arrested Tuesday after a shootout with police. The unidentified suspect was wounded in the leg.
Kruimel said the suspects, whose identities were not released, were detained and released during an October 2003 investigation into a potential terrorist threat.
“The suspects were detained at a number of residences searched in connection with the Van Gogh investigation,” Kruimel said. “They were previously known to us. As of now only one suspect is being held for Van Gogh’s murder, but the investigation will determine if others may have been connected.”
Van Gogh, 47, who received death threats after his recent movie sharply criticized how women are treated under Islam, was repeatedly shot and stabbed to death on an Amsterdam street Tuesday.
“Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Have mercy. Have mercy!” the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper quoted Van Gogh as begging his killer.
Another Dutch newspaper, the Telegraaf daily, carried a large color photograph of Van Gogh’s body with a knife protruding from his chest under the headline “Butchered.”
“We’re not going to take this,” the Dagblad said.
The paper said the killer shot Van Gogh eight or nine times, then calmly slipped his weapon in the pocket of a beige raincoat before bending over his victim and slitting his throat.
Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner said the suspect “acted out of radical Islamic fundamentalist convictions” and added that he had contacts with a group that was under surveillance by the Dutch secret service.
The suspect allegedly is friends with Samir Azzouz, an 18-year-old Muslim of Moroccan origin awaiting trial on charges of planning a terrorist attack targeting a nuclear reactor and Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, NOS Dutch television reported.
Azzouz was among those arrested in October 2003 but released for lack of evidence. He was re-arrested in June.
On Wednesday, well-wishers brought hundreds of flowers to the spot where Van Gogh was slain. Others brought beer, cigarettes and cactus plants “” a reference to Van Gogh’s prickly artistic nature and his habit of giving guests on his television talk show a cactus as a gift.
“This is an attack on my country,” said Masite Halici, a young Dutch woman who came with a rose. “I didn’t enjoy his art at all, but we need people who stand up for what they think.”