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Amsterdam escapes terrorist attack

DutchAmsterdam.nl — The bomb threats against several stores in south-east Amsterdam today were of a terroristic nature.

Amsterdam police have picked up a number of suspects in connection with the threats. Police were alerted to the threats by a phone call originating from a prepaid mobile phone in Brussels, Belgium.

At a press conference this evening, the ‘triangle’ — Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen; Amsterdam’s chief public prosecutor, Leo de Wit; and head of police, Bernard Welten — announced that 7 people of Dutch nationality with a Moroccan background have been arrested for questioning.

Police have yet to determine whether the seven — 6 men and 1 woman ranging in age from 19 to 64 — are indeed connected to the bomb threats. Several of the people arrested have previously been involved in violent crimes. One of those arrested has a relationship with a person who was involved in the 2004 Madrid train bombing — which was carried out by Islamic terrorists.

Houses at four addresses in Amsterdam have been searched. Amsterdam police is coordinating with the AIVD, the Algemene Inlichtingen en Veiligheidsdienst (General Intelligence and Security Service).

Police initially acted on information received in a phone call received last midnight. The call, which as been traced to a prepaid mobile phone, originated from Brussels, Belgium, and alerted police to a possible terrorist attack. The phone included specific information regarding threats against IKEA, MediaMarkt and one unnamed large store.

According to the caller, the aim would be to create a large number of victims among shoppers in busy stores. The stores did not open this morning, while police and special forces — accompanied by sniffer dogs trained at finding explosives — combed the stores and immediate surroundings.

The area around the stores in south-east Amsterdam is still cordoned off. It is not yet known when the stores, as well as the Heineken Music Hall will again be open to the public.

The Killers

A concert by American band The Killers slated for the Heineken Music Hall tonight was cancelled. The concert has been re-scheduled for May 29.

Heineken Music Hall had not been vacated, but police still has not given the all-clear in the immediate area.

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Last updated CET (Central European Time)

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