A stabbing at Amsterdam’s central station on 31 August was considered unusual or unexpected by many, as there have previously been far fewer incidents in the Netherlands than in nearby Belgium, France and Germany.
This was followed, however, by a large police operation in which seven people have been arrested on suspicion of planning a large attack. A stockpile of weapons and suicide vests was found, which could have killed and injured dozens of people had they not been stopped.
Speaking to The Independent, security specialists discussed, “Renewed concerns that Isis and other jihadi factions were sprouting fresh roots in the west,” – despite foreign fighters being prevented from returning to Europe.
Links To Syria
Most of the men arrested in the Netherlands last week are said to have family or other connections to Isis and related groups in Syria, and at least three of them had faced previous charges for trying to travel to join extremist groups.
Two men arrested in Denmark the previous day on unrelated charges are accused of “participating in attempts at terrorism,” including sending money and drones to Isis. The Independent highlighted these links and renewed concerns: “The conflict in Syria has built momentum for the global jihadi movement. Even if we are able to defeat them in Syria they have built a worldwide movement”
Increased Threat Level
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has increased its threat assessment for the Netherlands, saying terrorists are now “likely” to carry out attacks.
The Netherlands, however, has not changed its own threat level. It has been 4 (on a scale of 1 – 5) for some time now, and authorities say the recent arrests actually fit in with the current assessment. In other words, they don’t think the risk has increased; we’re just more aware of it.
“The threat level in the Netherlands has been at 4 for a long time,” explains NLTimes. “That means that there is a real chance of a terrorist attack in the country, but that the authorities have no concrete indications that one is being planned.”
On The Case
A Belgian expert interviewed by The Independent noted that last week’s police operation was one of the largest he had ever seen, and said security forces must have been following the network for months.
We’re sure you have noticed an increase in reports of foiled terrorism plots lately, and while this indicates good progress, the battle is far from over.
“The number of attacks has sadly remained constant,” said Pieter Cleppe of Open Europe, “But the number of successful attacks has been reduced.”
Governments and security forces in Europe and the UK continue to look for new ways to track and intercept threats, and we believe the events in Denmark and the Netherlands are a reminder for us to all be alert whenever and wherever we travel.
Safe Journey terrorism travel insurance is committed to providing extra peace of mind for every destination – locally and internationally. From as little as £5.17 per person for a single trip of up to 8 days, you can get comprehensive terrorism cover, including the option to cancel if there’s an attack within 40 miles of your destination, up to 6 weeks before your departure.
Please read our Policy Wording for full terms, conditions and exclusions.