Don’t exaggerate military uniform ban, says Dutch army chief

The advice to members of the armed forces not to wear their uniforms in public because they could be at risk of attack should ‘not be considered to be more than it is,’ the Dutch armed forces chief said on Monday.

Commander Tom Middendorp said in a briefing to MPs the British and French authorities have made similar recommendations in the wake of their involvement in anti-IS bombing in Iraq.

In addition, the Netherlands has taken similar measures at other times, including after the September 11 attacks in 2001, he told MPs.


The defence ministry will take steps if recommended to do so by the security services and counter terrorism unit, he said. ‘When the threat has gone, we will deactivate it,’ news agency ANP quoted the armed forces chief as saying.

Counter terrorism chief Dick Schoof told MPs at the same hearing that while the chance of an attack in the Netherlands ‘is a little bit higher… we should not exaggerate’.

Schoof said he stood by the cabinet’s appeal to ‘not let ourselves be made afraid’.

The Netherlands is sending six F-16 fighter jets to Iraq plus two reserve aircraft. The planes will be serviced by a team of 250 and a further 130 Dutch soldiers will train Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers.

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