Netherlands investigated possible Islamic radicals in service

Roger van de Wetering said remarks by the retiring head of the country's military intelligence service were incorrect.

The former military chief, Maj. Gen. Bert Dedden, had been quoted by the Netherlands Dagblad as saying that there was enough evidence against at least one radical to charge him with criminal acts, and to discharge another from service. The remarks were widely circulated by Dutch media, but were later retracted by the Dutch Defense Ministry. Dedden himself was not available for comment.

Van de Wetering confirmed there had been enough suspicion against "around 10" servicemen to launch investigations, but no concrete actions were taken against any as a result. The servicemen were thought to adhere to a radical fundamentalist Islamic ideology that might test their loyalty to the military.

None of the servicemen, however, was found to have committed criminal or acts worthy of discharge from the service, he said.

The Dutch contributed 1,400 soldiers to the U.S.-led forces in Iraq for 18 months ending in March 2005, and currently are building up a new 1,400-troop contribution to NATO's forces in southern Afghanistan, the AP reports.

Van de Wetering said the investigations into the servicemen were not linked to two incidents of weapons theft in the Dutch military last year, which he called "common criminality," nor several incidents where classified military documents were lost or misplaced.

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