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Man held near Rotterdam ‘suspected of preparing terror attack on concert’

World News | Published:

US band Allah-Las had to cancel the gig at the last minute on Wednesday after Spanish police tipped Dutch authorities off about a terror threat.

Dutch police have arrested a 22-year-old man after receiving a tip-off from Spanish colleagues and said he was suspected of preparing a “terrorist attack” on a concert by an American rock band.

The arrest in Brabant province, south of Rotterdam, came hours after police cancelled a performance by Los Angeles band Allah-Las at a converted grain silo in the heart of the port city on Wednesday night.

“The suspicion is that the suspect is involved in the preparation of a terrorist attack,” Rotterdam Police Chief Frank Paauw said.

“There is no terror threat now anymore. There is no threat because we have arrested a suspect and the information about the threat was so specific on the location of the event that, with that arrest, we can conclude that the threat is gone.”

Officers stand behind a cordoned-off area in Rotterdam
(RTL via AP)

Police searched the man’s home after his arrest but released no details of anything they found.

His identity was not released, in line with Dutch privacy guidelines.

Meanwhile, a Spanish mechanic detained on Thursday night while driving, apparently drunk, a white van containing a number of gas canisters close to the concert venue was to be questioned once he sobered up, police said.

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However, he did not appear to be a terror suspect.

A van is examined behind a cordoned-off area in Rotterdam
(RTL via AP)

Police said a search of his home uncovered nothing to indicate he was linked to the threat.

Explosives experts who combed through the van’s contents found a few gas canisters but nothing suspicious, police said.

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The 22-year-old suspect was being questioned by police and prosecutors.

If authorities want to prolong his detention they will have to arraign him at a closed-doors hearing with an investigative judge before the end of Friday, prosecution spokeswoman Jeichien de Graaff said.

Dutch counter-terror co-ordinator Dick Schoof commended the police action on Twitter, saying it was “alert, appropriate for the current threat level”.

Mr Schoof left the country’s threat level unchanged at “substantial”, the fourth step of a five-level scale.

The Allah-Las
Miles Michaud, lead singer of the California band Allah-Las (Dario Lopez-Mills/AP)

It was not clear what the nature of the threat to the concert was, or if the band’s name played any role in the threat.

In an interview with The Guardian last year, band members said they chose the word Allah, Arabic for God, because they were seeking a “holy-sounding” name and did not realise it might cause offence.

“We get emails from Muslims, here in the US 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.”

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