The Dutch defence ministry said on Thursday it has reason to believe that an air force sergeant has gone to Syria to join IS forces.
The 26-year-old man has been suspended and his access to information systems and military buildings has been blocked while an investigation is carried out, broadcaster Nos quotes the ministry as saying.
‘The defence ministry is researching any damage or risks associated with his job and is taking steps where necessary,’ the statement said.
The ministry spokesman also said the parliamentary committee which deals with confidential security issues had been briefed, but declined to give further details.
Earlier this week, PVV leader Geert Wilders said he had been given ‘shocking’ information as a member of the committee and threatened to make it public. However, Nos says its sources indicated Wilders was not referring to the possible defection.
This is the first time a serving member of the Dutch armed forces is thought to have gone to Syria or Iraq to join a jihadi movement. ‘It goes without saying this is totally unacceptable and a criminal offence,’ defence minister Jeanine Hennis said.
Sources also told the broadcaster the sergeant is not part of the Dutch military mission in Jordan which is taking part in the bombardment of Iraq. He is thought to have been based in the Netherlands and left for Syria from there.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation