Dutch police detain man with rifle, image of IS flag at home

Dutch police detain man with rifle, image of IS flag at home

30-year-old suspected of planning terrorist act; ammo, cell phones and cash also found at Rotterdam residence

Dutch policemen stand guard by a cordoned off area outside Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport late on April 12, 2016. (AFP/ANP/Michel van Bergen)
Dutch policemen stand guard by a cordoned off area outside Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport late on April 12, 2016. (AFP/ANP/Michel van Bergen)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Prosecutors in the Netherlands say police have detained a 30-year-old man on suspicion of preparing a terrorist crime after finding a Kalashnikov rifle, two full ammunition clips and a painting featuring a flag used by the Islamic State group at his home.

Dutch authorities announced the arrest Friday after the suspect had appeared before an investigating judge in the port city of Rotterdam.

They said a search of the man’s home as he was taken into custody Wednesday also uncovered four boxes of highly explosive illegal fireworks, mobile telephones and 1,600 euros ($1,687) in cash.

The suspect’s identity was not released, in line with Dutch privacy guidelines.

Rotterdam is Europe’s busiest port, and also one of The Netherlands’ most multi-cultural societies, home to many who have emigrated from abroad.

Dutch law enforcement agencies have been on high alert across the country since the November 2015 bombings in Paris, and the March suicide attacks on the Brussels metro and airport. Both France and Belgium neighbor the small northern European country.

The Europol headquarters in The Hague (AFP PHOTO/ANP/LEX VAN LIESHOUT)
The Europol headquarters in The Hague (AFP/ANP/Lex Van Lieshout)

Last week, the European police agency Europol warned that terror networks such as Islamic State are evolving their tactics to attack soft targets across the continent.

And the Dutch counter-terrorism agency has warned that fighters who left to join IS in Iraq and Syria could pose a threat as they return home.

About 270 Dutch people left to join the jihadists, and about 40 former fighters are known to have returned from combat in Syria and Iraq, where most have been fighting against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.

Another 190 Dutch citizens including women and children are still in Syria and Iraq, the agency said in a report last month while 44 fighters have been killed.

“The number of returning jihadist fighters will pick up should the ‘caliphate’ be militarily defeated or collapse,” the agency said in its latest “Terrorism Threat Assessment.”

“An increased number of returnees will most likely strengthen the jihadist movement within The Netherlands and therefore increase the threat posed by this group,” it said.

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