Still reeling from the brutal murder of artist/director Theo Van Gogh, the Dutch authorities today carried out a series of raids across three major cities, arresting seven suspects in an effort to prevent apparently imminent terrorist attacks. The suspects appear — at first glance — to match the profile of the disaffected young Muslim immigrant which has begun to concern some European leaders, per the Guardian:
Dutch authorities today detained six men and a woman in a series of anti-terror operations across three cities, officials said.
Police declined to confirm reports in the Dutch media of gunfire being heard during one of the operations in the capital, The Hague.
Security has been stepped up around government offices in the capital.
The suspects, ranging from 18 to 30 years old, were detained in The Hague, Amsterdam and Almere. Officials said they would be brought before an investigating judge on Monday.
Today’s security operation comes a day after media reports of renewed threats against MPs Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders, who are both outspoken critics of radical Islam.
The two politicians had to go into hiding for several months after Van Gogh’s murder
The Dutch, however, still appear hamstrung by a court system which fails to deal effectively with Islamic militants:
Officials said the chief suspect held in the anti-terror raids was Samir Azzouz, a 19-year-old Dutch national of Moroccan descent who was acquitted of terrorism charges earlier this year.
Mr Azzouz was allegedly in the process of purchasing automatic weapons and explosives, “probably to carry out an attack with others on several politicians and a government building,” a prosecution statement said.