The AIVD security service had ‘very concrete’ information that the Somali men arrested on Friday night were planning to shoot down an Apache helicopter from the Gilze-Rijen airbase, the Telegraaf reports on Tuesday.
The paper says it is ‘possible’ the rocket launcher would come from another European country such as Belgium or Denmark.
‘Crudely put, the only thing still missing was the equipment to bring one down,’ a ‘reliable security service source’ told the paper. In total, 85 helicopters are based at Gilze-Rijen, many of which have seen active service in Afghanistan.
The paper says shooting down an Apache would have ‘enormous symbolic value’ in jihadist circles. The Volkskrant quoted sources on Monday as saying the men are connected to the Al Shabab terrorist grouping.
Six of the 12 men arrested have already been released and are no longer considered suspects. The remaining six will appear in court on Tuesday.
The Telegraaf says it expects the men to be released because the AIVD evidence is inadmissible in court.
‘In the Netherlands, everything is focused on preventing an attack, even though the security service knows it will never come to court because AIVD files cannot be used in evidence,’ a source said.
‘The AIVD cannot make arrests… The only thing it can do is send a tip-off to the police who then start their own investigation.’
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