Three radical Muslims who planned to travel to Syria to take part in ‘armed jihad’ have been arrested in Rotterdam, the public prosecution department said on Friday.
Raids on the men’s homes in Rotterdam uncovered a quantity of weapons, including a crossbow and sword as well as farewell letters, packed rucksacks and jihadist texts. Homes lived in by families of the men in Utrecht and Dordrecht were also searched.
The investigation into the three, aged 22, 23 and 33, began last month after a security service alert, the public prosecutor said. The three were not involved in any earlier investigations into terrorism in the Netherlands.
Two of the men had been booked on a flight from Brussels to Turkey on Thursday afternoon and then planned to travel on to the Syrian border. An earlier flight which all three had planned to take to Turkey was cancelled.
The department said one of the men had last week married a Muslim woman he had only recently met online. He posed on a photograph for her holding an AK-47 machine gun and had told her ‘I hope we will die together and go to paradise’.