The terror threat to the Netherlands has shifted from international networks to local Dutch groups, according to the security service AIVD.
Presenting the AIVD’s annual report for 2004, agency boss Sybrand van Hulst said the chance of attack in the Netherlands remained very real.
He said the arrest of a group Moroccan-Dutch men for membership of the alleged terror group, Hofstadgroep, and suspects accused of threatening politicians Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders had helped reduce a portion of the risk.
On the other hand, he said the actions of Mohammed B. – the 27-year-old man who has admitted murdering filmmaker Theo van Gogh – acted as an inspiration for other young Muslim men.
Van Hulst said there had also been a shift in potential targets, from large groups – such as the Madrid train bombings – to individuals such as Van Gogh.
Fewer people can be involved in preparing attacks directed at specific individuals, limiting the chance of detection by the authorities, he said.
According to Van Hulst, the move from international to local terror networks can also be seen in other European countries. He could not say how many networks there are in the Netherlands.
They are inspired not only by Mohammed B., but also by the events in Iraq. Some young Muslims could also be angered by Dutch participation in the international military force in Afghanistan, Van Hulst said.
The AIVD boss said his agents had noticed a rising, but “fortunately very limited” radicalisation among Turkish people for the first time.
He emphasised that the radicals were a very small part of the communities of orthodox Muslims living in the Netherlands.