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Did Amsterdam escape homegrown jihadist-terror attacks?

By Adriana Stuijt     Mar 13, 2009 in Crime
Dutch parliamentarians are livid about police claims that Amsterdam was only barely saved from a claimed jihadist-terrorist attack yesterday which 'may have been plotted by some residents with dual Moroccan-Dutch citizenship'. No explosives were found.
Madrid bombings March 11
Police swooped on homes in Brussels and Amsterdam after a direct familial link was made to the Madrid jihadist-bombings -- exactly five years ago on March 11.
The arrested dual-citizenship residents - one woman and six men, were questioned at length and released on Friday, police said today - but they would not say whether these people were still suspects. Amsterdam's South Eastern suburban shopping centres were hurriedly evacuated after the alert was raised. Police are still keeping a close watch on the Arena Boulevard in South east Amsterdam where the attacks were allegedly being planned- amongst others by a helicopter circling overhead. see
Under threat of terrorist bombings, police said, had been shopping centres containing the Pathé movie theatre, the Heineken Music Hall and a large IKEA outlet. Police in Brussels and Amsterdam carried out major sweeps on the homes of various residents of Moroccan origin in both countries, searching for explosives. None were found.
The arrests in the high-crime area of Amsterdam-- some over-reaching sociologists even compare this region to the worst ghettos in the United States -- took place within hours after police say they had received a tip-off about plans to carry out a terror attack in Amsterdam.
The evacuation was a 'preventative measure,' police tried to assure staffers and residents, 'to stop explosives from being carried into the shops.' They found no explosives after hours of searching. see
The entire panic started when police received a midnight phone call which was traced to a prepaid cellphone in neighbouring Belgium, and which claimed that 'three men' whose vague descriptions and addresses were provided, were 'planning to place explosives in the IKEA and other shops in Amsterdam South East with the purpose of killing as many victims as possible.'
The call was traced to a prepaid-cellphone in Brussels, said police chief Welten. "The caller provided the planners' address and gave a vague description. We acted as soon as a link was then made to the attacks in Madrid exactly five years ago,' he said.
The Belgian and Dutch police then launched searches of specific homes in Brussels and Amsterdam, and arrested seven people in Amsterdam who are now still 'being questioned', he added. Also see our previous story, "Islamic youths wage turf wars in Dutch towns', here
Western-style entertainment centres closed down
Late on Friday police and other authorities assured the public that the terrorist threat no longer existed, and that the area under threat has been 'secured'. Still, the Heineken Music Hall and the Pathé cinema -- already a thorn in the eyes of the local mullahs at the gigantic Taibah mosque in South-East Amsterdam -- remained closed on Friday. Ikea did reopen today at the normal 10am time, however.
Dutch MPs livid
Party for Freedom MPs Raymond de Roon and Geert Wilders today said that 'they demand to hear the entire truth about this still very vague incident.'
They want clear explanations from Justice and Internal Affairs ministers about the jihadist-threat which is clearly emanating from specific suburbs in Amsterdam with overwhelmingly muslim-populations, both said.
Keep Dutch towns indigenous
Wilders this week created new outrage among cabinet members when he called for the municipal authorities to return Dutch towns to an 80% composition of indigenous-born Dutch (referred to as autochtones here) -- to avoid the growing ethnic and religious turf wars which are occurring in so many Dutch towns now. This week, bus-drivers in the town of Eelde went on a wild-cat strike after a female bus-driver was attacked by a group of Moroccan youths. The drivers said they'd had enough of being the targets of youths who were constantly terrorising Dutch-born passengers and drivers, especially women.
Dutch autochtone neighbourhoods needed
Today, Dutch news reports from state-linked media such as NOS are very 'soothing', telling the population that 'the direct threat of an immediate attack has lessened,' but that the entire Amsterdam South-East region 'was still being kept under surveillance
Leeuwarden airfield F16s 'practicing'
However here in Friesland, where I live about 20km away from the Leeuwarden NATO Air Force Base, it's very noticeable that things are not 'back to normal' at all.: the Dutch Air Force's F-16s are undertaking an usually large number of 'practice runs' today. The Air Force spokesman at Leeuwarden tells me it's all just 'routine' however.
Citizens 'mustn't panic,'
Bernard Welten, chief of the Amsterdam police, said today that according to their information, one of the seven arrested Dutch-Moroccan citizens -- six men and one woman, 19 to 64 years old -- was a relative of one of the convicted jihadists who had carried out the Madrid bombings five years ago.
Party leader Wilders said today that this little bit of information was just not good enough and far to vague -- and they are demanding an urgent parliamentary debate about Thursday's alleged terrorist threat early next week.
They want to call justice minister Hirsch-Ballin into the parliamentary chambers to 'ask some probing questions' about these claimed jihadist-links between Amsterdam South-East residents and the Madrid bombers.
There was no terrorist-threat says expert...
Labour party mayor Job Cohen of Amsterdam, its Chief Justice Officer Herman Bolhaar and police corps chef Bernard Welten announced these arrests in a press conference about an hour after the shopping centres of the Bijlmer region were evacuated - and also warned that 'more arrests cannot be excluded'.
This press conference however has created great confusion in The Netherlands the following day. The National Coordinator for Combating Terrorism says there was no islamic terrorist threat', and that there was thus also 'no need to raise the terrorism-alert level' nor take any nationwide measures.
Lies everywhere:
IKEA's spokeswoman told me that they had been assured by police that 'this threat was not targeting our shops specifically', however. Clearly these conflicting stories create some confusion: for instance yesterday, IKEA managers were telling staffers and shoppers during the hurried evacuation that it was necessary due to a "technical fault'.
However IKEA, with headquarters in Sweden, has been threatened with explosives before, in December 2002 in a black-mailing scheme by two Polish men, who were sentenced to 7 years in prison after placing explosives at the Swedish-owned chain's Sliedrecht and Amsterdam South-East shops.
In 1998, there were 670.000 Moslims in The Netherlands. By 2009, there were more than 1-million. The Netherlands has a total population of only 17-million people and is the most overpopulated country on the planet.
Mosque-building programme
The building of mosques has become a contentious issue in The Netherlands, with the largest mosques now located in all of The Netherland's major cities, such as Amsterdam, The Hague, Tilburg and Maastricht. Once a new mosque is built, these work as drawing cards, and rapidly turn entire surrounding Dutch-speaking neighbourhoods into overwhelmingly Muslim-dominated areas where 'Westerners' are discouraged to remain, are increasingly attacked and demonised on the streets, especially the women - and often the mullahs start demanding the closure of local Western entertainment centres -- as they have done in Amsterdam South East recently. see
Our neighbour is no jihadist
A neighbour of one of the arrested people, 64-year-old L. El M (they don't provide surnames of arrested people in The Netherlands), said 'it must be a mistake. My Moroccan neighbour is a darling. He's an ordinary man. Everybody knows him. ' He was arrested in Amsterdam North, in the Meeuwen Avenue, said neighbour Jenny Nijmijer. She heard the arrest team and the noise at around 6am yesterday. "We got scared out of our wits,' she told Amsterdam journalists.
"Neighbour isn't extremist or anything. He's tops. He even took me to hospital in the middle of the night recently. He has a difficult name so we all just call him 'neighbour'. But we understand what could have happened. His ex-wife's nephew was connected to the Madrid terror attacks five years ago. Neighbour was in Morocco around that time, and had a lot of problems because of it all when he returned and was arrested. He was taken away blindfolded yesterday. And then they raided his house. But they really do have the wrong one,' said Nijmijer. see
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