Rotterdam concert canceled over terror threat involving Spanish van
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Rotterdam concert canceled over terror threat involving Spanish van

Police arrest driver near venue in Dutch port city; vehicle found loaded with gas bottles

Illustrative photo of Dutch police in the port city of Rotterdam, March 12, 2017. (AFP Photo/Emmanuel Dunand)
Illustrative photo of Dutch police in the port city of Rotterdam, March 12, 2017. (AFP Photo/Emmanuel Dunand)

A rock concert in the Dutch city of Rotterdam was canceled Wednesday due to a terror threat involving a Spanish van found with gas bottles inside, the local mayor said.

Rotterdam police confirmed the decision was taken due to a “possible terrorist threat” and that the van’s driver had been arrested.

“Police took this information seriously enough that after discussion with organizers it was decided to cancel the event,” the Rotterdam police statement said.

Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said police in the port city stopped a van with Spanish license plates containing a number of gas bottles close to the venue of the concert. Aboutaleb said at a hastily arranged press conference that the van’s driver had been detained and was being questioned on Wednesday night.

He declined to give further details on the nature of the warning or where in Spain it came from.

Police in Spain have been investigating deadly vehicle attacks in Barcelona and a seaside resort last week that killed 15 people. Eight of the 12 suspects in the terror cell have been shot dead by police, while the remaining four were arrested, Catalan police said.

Earlier, the Maassilo venue announced that “due to a terrorist threat, the Allah-Las concert will not take place this evening, on police orders.” Dutch television showed officers in body armor outside Maassilo and what appeared to be members of the band leaving the venue in a white van with a police escort.

Allah-Las is a four-piece band from Los Angeles. The band did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment on Wednesday night.

In an interview with British newspaper The Guardian last year, band members said they chose the word Allah, Arabic for God, because they were seeking a “holy sounding” name. They said they didn’t realize it might offend Muslims.

Lead singer Miles Michaud told the newspaper that the group received emails from Muslims around the world who said they were offended. Michaud said the band usually wrote back and explained its intentions were honorable “and mainly they understand.”

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