Report: Dutch police monitoring 345 Islamic radicals

The Dutch National Police is permanently monitoring 345 Islamic radicals. The Hague police are keeping an eye on the most with about 130 under their watch, followed by the Midden-Nederland region with about 50, the Telegraaf reports based on confidential police figures.

Police spokesperson Helma Huizing would not comment to the newspaper on what criteria the police used to put these 345 on the monitor list, nor on what danger they may pose. "If we explain our method, these people can anticipate and escape our attention", she said, adding that this is not from unwillingness. "But sharing that info is tactically inept."

The police is never specific about the exact number of potentially dangerous radicals in the Netherlands. Intelligence and security service AIVD previously stated that the Netherlands has an estimated several hundred jihadists and several thousand sympathizers, according to the newspaper. The Netherlands also has about 220 adult foreign rebel fighters in the Syrian war, of whom about 40 returned to the country.

According to an analyst of the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security, many of the returnees stated that they returned because their holiday was over or that they are finished giving aid in the region, but the truth is often far different. The true reason in most cases is "a combination of disillusionment and personal circumstances", he said to the newspaper.

The intelligence and security services found no evidence that the "first generation of returnees" - those already back in the Netherlands - were given orders to carry out attacks in Europe. Most of the returnees therefore do not pose a danger. Last week an official for the Ministry of Security and Justice stated that the "second generation" will form a "greater risk" to the Netherlands, because these jihadists are more “trained and battle-hardened” and “might be willing to carry out an attack here”