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Woman arrested on suspicion of hoax threat against Amsterdam stores

DutchAmsterdam.nl — The Netherlands National Criminal Investigation Service (Nationale Recherche) has arrested a 48-year-old woman in Amsterdam on suspicion of involvement with a hoax bomb threat last March.

In an anonymous phone call on March 11 to Amsterdam police the woman claimed to have information about an upcoming terrorist attack against several stores in South-East Amsterdam. As a result several, the next morning several stores remained closed, and the IKEA store was vacated prior to being searched for explosives.

Information provided by the caller led to the arrest of seven suspects — six men and 1 woman, all part of one extended family.

National and international media suggested Amsterdam had escaped a terrorist attack. However, two days later all of those arrested were released, and sources at the time said police may conclude that the hoax call could have been an act of revenge against the Moroccan family.

One of the people who were arrested is the brother of the late Jamal Ahmidan. Nicknamed ‘El Chino’ (the Chinese), Ahmidan was a prime suspect in the bombing attack by Muslim extremists against a train in Madrid in March, 2004, in which 191 people died and 1800 were wounded. Three weeks after the attack five terrorists, Ahmidan included, blew themselves up when police tried to enter their apartment in a Madrid suburb.

The family connection appeared to have been a primary reason for the stepped up response to the call, which was made from a mobile phone in Brussels, Belgium.

A spokesperson for the National Public Prosecution Service (Openbaar Ministerie) says the woman arrested yesterday is a citizen of Amsterdam with a Moroccan passport. She was arrested at her home. The spokesperson refused to reveal whether the woman is related to the people arrested last March. The woman will face a court commissioner this Thursday.

Research is ongoing and the Public Prosecution Service does not preclude further arrests in the case.

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Last updated CET (Central European Time)

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