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Dutch Police Arrest Suspect After Terror Warning Canceled Concert

  • VOA News

In this image taken from video, a van is examined behind a cordoned-off area in Rotterdam, Aug. 23, 2017, after a possible terror threat resulted in the cancellation of a concert by an American band. Police detained the driver of a van with Spanish license plates carrying a number of gas tanks inside.

Dutch police detained a 22-year-old suspect early Thursday in connection with a tip from Spanish police that a terror attack at a rock concert in Rotterdam a day earlier may have been imminent.

The man was arrested during a raid in the southern province of Brabant, where police also searched his home.

Officials in Rotterdam canceled Wednesday’s performance by the American rock group Allah-Las. Concert organizer Rotown said via Twitter that the concert venue, a former grain silo called Maassilo, was evacuated. The decision to cancel the event was made less than an hour before doors were to open to the public.

In this image taken from video, Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb speaks to reporters in his city, Aug. 23, 2017, after a concert by an American band was canceled as a result of a possible terror threat.
In this image taken from video, Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb speaks to reporters in his city, Aug. 23, 2017, after a concert by an American band was canceled as a result of a possible terror threat.

Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said at a news conference late Wednesday that police were questioning the driver of a van loaded with gas tanks that was found near the concert venue. The vehicle was registered in Spain.

But police said Thursday the driver is a Spanish national and a mechanic who “gave an explanation of why the bottles were in his van.”They said there was no apparent link to the threat, but that the man would face more questioning Thursday.

Mayor Aboutaleb said Spanish police reported the terror threat just hours before the California band was due to take the stage, and the tip was serious enough to warrant canceling the concert.

In this image taken from video, officers stand behind a cordoned-off area in Rotterdam, Aug. 23, 2017, after a concert by an American band was canceled following a possible terror threat.
In this image taken from video, officers stand behind a cordoned-off area in Rotterdam, Aug. 23, 2017, after a concert by an American band was canceled following a possible terror threat.

The Allah-Las group is from Los Angeles. The four musicians told the British newspaper The Guardian last year that they chose Allah, the Arabic name for God, for their group’s name because they wanted something “holy sounding,” and did not realize it might cause offense.

“We get emails from Muslims, here in the U.S. and around the world, saying they’re offended, but that absolutely wasn’t our intention,” lead singer Miles Michaud told the newspaper. “We email back and explain why we chose the name, and mainly they understand.”

Details of the threat relayed to Rotterdam from Spain were not disclosed. Spanish police have been investigating deadly vehicle attacks that killed 15 people in and near Barcelona last week.

They have recovered bomb-making equipment that included more than 100 tanks of butane gas, nails and 500 liters of highly flammable acetone.

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