Seven suspects arrested after Dutch anti-terrorism operation

Dutch authorities detained seven suspects in a national anti-terrorism operation Friday to prevent an attack, officials said. The chief suspect in the raids in three cities was Samir Azzouz, a 19-year-old Dutch national of Moroccan descent who was acquitted of terrorism charges earlier this year, prosecutors said.

Azzouz was allegedly in the process of purchasing automatic weapons and explosives, "probably to carry out an attack with others on several politicians and a government building," a prosecution statement said.

On Thursday, media reported renewed threats against members of parliament Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders, both outspoken critics of Islamic extremism. The two went into hiding for several months after Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh's brutal slaying on an Amsterdam street, a year ago next month, the AP reminds.

The suspects, ranging from 18- to 30-years-old, were detained in The Hague, Amsterdam and Almere. They will be brought before an investigating judge Monday.

Around two dozen officers in riot gear closed entrances leading to both houses of parliament and the government's information service. The weekly Cabinet meeting, however, went ahead as scheduled.

Police declined to confirm media reports of gunfire in the largely immigrant Schilderswijk neighborhood in The Hague where a hand grenade exploded during the arrest of two terrorist suspects last year, following van Gogh's murder.


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