THE HAGUE, Netherlands – A man entered the Turkish Embassy in The Hague on Tuesday and detonated a bomb that started a small fire but did little damage and caused no injuries, the Turkish ambassador said.
The suspect, who apparently pretended to be picking up a visa, fled the scene before the 11:30 a.m. explosion but was arrested later, said Frank van Beers of the Internal Affairs Ministry.
Van Beers said “someone has been arrested,” but did not elaborate. The identity of the suspect was not known and city officials in The Hague declined to comment. Explosives experts were investigating the device.
“A man with dark features and wearing a black jacket entered the embassy. He was not speaking Turkish, he was speaking some Dutch. He exploded the bomb … then he managed to escape,” Turkey’s Ambassador to The Hague, Tacan Ildem, told the private CNN Turk television.
“Luckily, no one was injured in the embassy,” he said.
An embassy worker jumped from a window onto a parked vehicle to escape the building but was not believed to be hurt, officials said.
Adjacent buildings were evacuated and surrounding streets were cordoned off. Explosives experts and anti-terrorism teams were at the scene interviewing bystanders.
The Turkish Embassy is located in downtown The Hague, the seat of the Dutch government, near parliament buildings and several other embassies.
Since the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, Dutch intelligence agencies have warned that a terror attack in the Netherlands was possible, but they predicted that some of The Hague’s international institutions could be targeted.
Last month, Dutch police detained five suspects for allegedly plotting a bombing, but they all have been released for lack of evidence.
It was unclear why the Turkish Embassy was targeted. Turkish authorities in other countries have been attacked by Kurdish rebels fighting for an independent state.
As many as 70,000 Kurds are estimated to be in the Netherlands, but incidents are unusual.
In February 1999, about 250 Kurds protesting the arrest of rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan occupied the Greek ambassador’s residence in The Hague and took three hostages, including the ambassador’s 8-year-old son. The hostages were released unharmed after a 24-hour standoff.
Bombings are extremely rare in the Netherlands. A group calling itself the Revolutionary Anti-Racist Action attacked several government buildings in the early 1990s, causing substantial material damage but no injuries.