Justice minister Stef Blok has confirmed that a message posted on a social media channel by one man prompted police to cancel a rock concert in Rotterdam on Wednesday night.
A 22-year-old man was arrested in Zevenbergen, North Brabant, in the early hours of Thursday by a specialist anti-terror team who searched his flat. Blok said the man had played ‘a malign role’ in the decision to abandon the gig by the US band Allah-Las.
According to the Telegraaf, the suspect is an hbo college student who lives with his parents in Zevenbergen. Neighbours told the paper he is a nice, quiet boy and they were shocked by the arrest.
Earlier in the evening police had received a tip-off from their Spanish counterparts warning them that the Maassilo in Rotterdam was the target of a potential terror attack. The city’s mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb took the decision to evacuate the venue around an hour before the start of the concert.
Sources quoted by radio station BNR said the man had posted a threatening message on the social media network Telegram.
Blok told BNR it was ‘a terrible shame to take such measures, but all the indications were there to support it. This individual has played a very malign role in all this so he’s going to have to explain himself.’
The minister added: ‘We are very interested to hear why he carried out this stupid act.’
A spokesman for Aboutaleb said that there was no longer a specific terror threat following the arrest in Brabant. The national terror threat remains at level 4, with 5 being the highest.
Richard van Beusekom, director of the Maassilo venue, said everyone who had tickets for last night’s concert would receive a refund. Around 900 tickets are thought to have been sold. Aboutaleb said he wanted to help rearrange the event for a later date if possible.
Earlier police said the driver of a white van who was stopped near the venue yesterday evening had nothing to do with the incident. The van, which had Spanish number plates, had been seen driving around the area and contained gas bottles, but it later emerged that the driver was an engineer and the gas was for domestic use. Police said he was over the legal alcohol limit but not linked to terrorism.