Prosecutor investigating Netherlands terrorist hideout rumors
The Public Prosecutor is investigating whether terrorist suspects from France and Belgium are hiding in the Netherlands. The manhunts following those attacks may have forced the suspects to flee to the Netherlands, Prosecutor Bart den Hartigh said to NRC.
Den Hartigh referred to the state of emergency and many raids in France that followed the attacks in Paris on November 13th last year. "I can imagine that one thinks: I'd better go somewhere else. We are investigating that now", he said to the newspaper. Den Hartingh is responsible for the terrorism approach in the Public Prosecution office.
A spokesperson for the Public Prosecutor added that there is by no means a concrete investigation ongoing into foreign terrorists moving to the Netheralnds.
Wim de Bruin of the Public Prosecutor's office told broadcaster NOS that there are no indications that terrorists are using the Netherlands as a hideout. "But we can not rule anything out."
According to Jelle van Buuren, terrorism researcher at Leiden University, it is too early to conclude that terrorists are looking for safety in the Netherlands after only one arrest - French terror suspect Anis B. was arrested in Rotterdam on Sunday. He does however point out that terrorists did settle in other countries to hide in the past. But whether or not the Netherlands will make a good hideout depends very much on what connections he has.
"Terrorists use society exactly the same way we do", Van Buuren said to NRC. "You go somewhere where you know someone, or where there's an environment you can easily move into. In a diverse city like Rotterdam they will for example quickly be less noticeable."