Five men have been arrested in Rotterdam and Germany on charges of preparing a terrorist attack, broadcaster NOS said on Saturday.
Four were arrested early on Saturday morning at homes in the centre and east of the port city and the fifth man was picked up later in the day in Germany on the request of the Dutch authorities. The first four are aged 20 to 30 and have a ‘non-western’ background, broadcaster NOS said.
One is said to be a Syrian refugee with residency status named as Saleh H. A second man is said to be an Egyptian national.
The wife of the Syrian refugee told the Telegraaf she had no idea what is going on. Speaking in the 15th floor flat, where the front door has already been repaired and with a Christmas tree in the corner of the room, she told the paper that everyone was asleep in bed when the police burst in.
A neighbour said the man worked at a nearby garage repairing cars.
Five to six homes were also searched during the raids but no weapons or IS related material were found, NOS said.
The broadcaster says police received ‘indications’ the men were planning to ‘do something’ a few days ago. The police have declined to comment further on the case while they carry out further investigations into the ‘terrorist threat’.
It is not the first time terrorist suspects have been arrested in Rotterdam. In June, two men were picked up after a tip off from the AIVD security service. The public prosecution department said at the time they were suspected of organising an imminent attack which would ‘result in a lot of victims’.
And one of the seven men arrested in another terrorist investigation in September came from Rotterdam. Several others had lived there or in the vicinity.
In March 2016, four men were arrested on terrorism charges in Rotterdam, including a French national suspected and in December 2017, four other men were picked up in the city, following a tip-off from the Swedish authorities.
At the beginning of this year, AIVD chief Rob Bertholee told a television show the agency has foiled ‘three or four’ serious potential terrorist attacks in the Netherlands over the past six years.
Note: This article was updated on 31.12 to reflect the fact the fifth arrest was made in Germany.
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