Dutch police have arrested two men of Iraqi ancestry on allegations they are members of a terrorist network, one of whom was allegedly involved in aiding the Iraqi resistance against US troops.
A 32-year-old man with a Dutch passport and who has lived in the Netherlands for 10 years was arrested at the start of May in Amersfoort. He is accused of preparing attacks against US military vehicles in the Iraqi city of Falluja.
A spokesman for the national prosecution office (OM) said on Wednesday the other man is a 35-year-old Iraqi immigrant from Amersfoort.
He said a video was found in the Amersfoort home of the Dutch national showing preparations for attacks
against US military vehicles in Iraq. The footage dates back to October 2003 and the Dutch suspect can be seen on the video.
Masked men are also seen talking in Arabic about attacks on US soldiers in the vicinity of Falluja. The statements are interspersed with pictures of land mines.
The OM said the men on the video claim they can detonate the mines by remote control from a distance of 500m so that Iraqi insurgents are not placed in any danger.
Besides the arrest of the 32-year-old man, the national detectives unit (Nationale Recherche) arrested three Iraqi immigrants in Amersfoort and Barneveld.
Two of them – aged 35 and 20 – are not yet suspected of membership of a terrorist network. They are accused of burglary, intimidation and illegal weapon possession.
The OM spokesman said there were no indications the men were planning terrorist attacks in the Netherlands.
Detectives found in house raids two guns and ammunition, plus mobile phones, video tapes, photo rolls, photos, negatives, computer files and administrative documents were also seized. In addition, police found a large amount of CDs with footage of (suicide) attacks, possibly in Iraq.
The investigation started in September 2004 after a tip-off by the security service AIVD and the military intelligence service MIVD.
Iraqi immigrants were suspected of involvement in attacks in Iraq and the OM is co-operating with US authorities in its investigation.
Rotterdam Court has already ordered the men to be remanded in custody and the two main suspects will again appear before a judge on Friday. The other two suspects have been remanded in custody for 90 days.
The AIVD said at the start of this year it was tracking suspected radical Muslims who had left the Netherlands to possibly fight US troops in Iraq.
It said several men left the Netherlands at the start of 2005 and AIVD spokesman Vincent van Steen said the arrests are linked to the AIVD’s inquiries. However, Van Steen said more radical Muslims want to travel to the “battle front” in Iraq.
“We are keeping tabs on these sorts of travels and keep these people under surveillance when they return to the Netherlands because they can represent a threat,” he said.