Dutch warned of posb. terrorist attacks

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No image availableNL Times

Netherlands counter-terrorism coordinator AIVD  has warned that the threat of a terrorist attack in the country is "bigger than ever before." The secret service is taking a possible attack against the Dutch democratic society very seriously, De Telegraaf reports.

On Monday, the AIVD presented a somber report on the rising power of jihadists in the country. The report, named 'Transformation of Jihadism in The Netherlands' warns that the Jihadist movement in The Netherlands counts several hundred loyal members and several thousand sympathisers at the moment.

According to the service, the attracting power of the extremist movement has become so large that "many muslim youths will grow from 'joiner' sympathisers to hardened fighters who take part in gruesome acts in Syria such as summary executions, mass murders and the beheading of opposers."

The AIVD is now afraid that such extreme attacks on Dutch and further European cities will occur before long. Not only societies, but also specific groups such as Jews, Shiite muslims or other muslim groups who speak out with criticism against these jihadists.

Sources tell De Telegraaf that there are currently several people who cannot go out into the open without protection. Among this group under threat are former radicalized muslims who have turned away from the ideology of violence, and well-known muslims in the country. The AIVD also says that muslims who openly protest the jihadist road to Syria, and who are "against the extreme intolerance and anti-democratic conceptions of jihadism are being virtually and physically intimidated more often". The service says that this is a telling sign that an attack is imminent.

The jihadist movement is difficult to counter, the AIVD states, as there is rare mention of a central leader. This makes the movement more flexible, and less vulnerable. Because there is such fluid and widespread communication possibilities for jihadists and sympathisers, any "holes that come about as a result of, for example, arrests of jihad travel of certain persons with specific roles with media campaigns, logistics activities or fundraising, can quickly be filled."

The service also points a finger at social media for allowing the explosive growth of the number of Dutch jihadists. "Next to the increased professionalism and stronger orientation on an open and provocative activism, another development has brought about an entirely new dynamic within Dutch jihadism in a short time: the widespread use of social media.

"Jihad propaganda is available in every form and in every language, from classic jihadist works in writing to audio recordings of readings from ideologists and films from the jihadi struggle. It is more professional every time, and therefore made to look more appealing."

Now, the AIVD is calling for a "Delta plan against jihadism." The secret service urges for new measures to enlarge the resistance against jihadism. "Preventative and repressive measures will have to assume the new structure and the changing character of the jihadist movement in The Netherlands."

The secret service is calling on the government and the Islamic community to develop counter-measures "that can offer effective counter-balance against the jihadist movement in The Netherlands, to prevent that this forms a steadily larger threat for the Dutch democratic legal order, national security and society."