Four arrested in connection with mysterious hunt for sarin nerve gas

Four people have been arrested in connection with an apparent hunt for a consignment of the nerve gas sarin in a suburb of Maastricht, the public prosecution department has confirmed.

The four are said to have attempted to earn money with the gas but had no terrorist or ideological reasons for doing so, the department told a news conference. They have been held on charges of possessing and burying a banned substance.

Police spent the entire weekend searching for the gas after a tip-off that sarin was being offered for sale.

The main suspect was followed by police, leading them to search an area of woodland without result. The main suspect and one other were picked up at that site. Two others were arrested in Heerlen, Nos said.

The four – two men and two women – range in age from 21 to 52 and have Dutch nationality. Police do not suspect anyone else of being involved. They will appear in court later on Tuesday.

Despite an intensive search, involving helicopters and cutting down trees, no traces of the nerve gas have been found. There was no risk to public safety at any time, Maastricht mayor Onno Hoes told a news conference.

According to the Telegraaf, the main suspect is a Dutch Turk named Islam A who had ‘threatened to hurt his mistress who was harrassing his wife’. The public prosecution department declined to comment on the claim.

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