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Amsterdam: Five of seven people arrested on suspicion of terrorism released

DutchAmsterdam.nl — Five of seven people arrested in Amsterdam yesterday in connection with a terror threat have been released. Questioning as well as searches of their homes have not demonstrated that the five have any connections to the case.

Two people remain in temporary custody. One of them is suspected not of terrorism but of other criminal activities.

Justice minister Hirsch Ballin says a police investigation into the bomb threats is continuing.

Ballin, prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende and Internal Affairs minister Guusje ter Horst are pleased with the way police and the justice department handled yesterday’s events. They were right in taking the threats seriously, Balkende says. Ballin adds that not every phone call results in such a huge operation, but reiterates that this particular call had to be taken seriously.

According to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf the Maroccan community in Amsterdam is shocked that the suspects all had a Maroccan background. Yesterday it was reported that all those arrested had the Dutch nationality, with a Moroccan background. Today police said two of them have only the Maroccan nationality.

The Union of Maroccan Mosques in Amsterdam said the feeling exists that Maroccan Dutch citizens have once again been placed in the (negative) spotlight.

In recent years there has been growing tension in the Netherlands over the increasingly criminal behavior of Maroccan hooligans. In many neighborhoods efforts by so-called buurtvaders — neighborhood fathers (ususally of Maroccan decend) — to reduce such behavior have met with mixed success.

Programs designed to help integrate immigrants into Dutch society do not apply to the second- and thir-generation youths.

Shops at the Arenaboulevard reopened this morning.

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This post was last updated: Sep. 25, 2011