Dutch authorities have arrested seven men they believe were plotting to carry out a major terrorist attack against “a large event in the Netherlands.”
Heavily armed police arrested the suspects in Arnhem, about 60 miles south of the capital, Amsterdam, and Weert, near the Dutch border with Germany and Belgium, the Netherlands Public Prosecution Service said in a statement.
The arrests were the culmination of an investigation that began in April and yielded a “detailed view of the preparations by the suspects,” according to a translation of the prosecution service’s website.
It said the plan was thought to involve bombs, including a car bomb, grenades and Kalashnikov assault rifles at two separate locations at an unspecified “large event” with the goal of producing “many victims.”
“The suspects were looking for AK47s, small arms, hand grenades, bombs and raw materials for one or more (car) bombs,” the statement said.
“They also sought opportunities for training with firearms,” and bombs, it said.
Minister for Justice and Security Fred Grapperhaus told national broadcaster NOS that police moved against the suspects in time to foil the attack.
“In a sense it is serious, but luckily it’s also good news – a terrorist cell that was plotting an attack has been taken down,” he said.
“They weren’t so far that it was a danger to society,” he said. “But they were quite far in their preparations.”
Last month, two U.S. citizens traveling in the Netherlands sustained serious but not life threatening wounds in a stabbing at Amsterdam’s Central Railway station. Dutch authorities said the incident had “a terrorist motive.” The suspect, a 19-year-old Afghan man, was shot and detained by authorities.
Last year, authorities in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam were forced to cancel a concert by the American garage band Allah-Las after a warning from Spanish authorities led to the arrest of two men suspected of planning a terrorist attack.