Belgian authorities warn of attack plans against Vierdaagse
On Monday night the Belgian police received an official notification from within the Netherlands about a possible attack during a fireworks show for the Vierdaagse marches in Nijmegen, the Belgian coordinator for counterterrorism OCAD confirmed, AD reports.
The Vierdaagse kicked off in Nijmegen this morning. There was already a firework show as part of the parties arranged for the 100th edition of the four day marches. It went without incident.
The report surfaced when the Mayor Daniel Termont of the Belgian city of Ghent also arranged a firework show to open the Ghent Festivities on Sunday night. "At 22 hours there was an international message that there was a threat against a fireworks display in Nijmegen", the mayor said to Flemish channel VTM. "Ghent was never mentioned. But with the police chief we then decided to perform an exercise we put down on paper, as if it were a threat against Ghent."
The mayor stated that the report came from U.S. intelligence service the FBI. The OCAD just said it came from within the Netherlands.
Teddy Vrijmoet, director of the Vierdaagse parties, confirmed that there was a threat, but added that he is not worried. "There was indeed a threat, but it was not serious. Not so serious that we had to take action. That's what I was told. There are constantly these stories, not only this week. These are all seriously investigated." he said to AD.
Nijmegen mayor Hubert Bruls also confirms that the threat was received. "We could quickly conclude that this is not serious. I can easily say: that was true, because nothing happened. We took additional measures, also after Nice. That was especially visible police. A helicopter, extra uniforms on both sides of the Waalkade. But we have to realize: that is just cosmetic. If someone really wants to do harm, he can do harm. I also understand that this concerns people. But we get this kind of information a lot. It often involves people who want attention." he said to the newspaper. "But like I said, we take everything seriously."
Dutch authorities, including the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security, did not comment on the matter yet.
After Thursday's attack in Nice, France, police chief Erik Akerboom announced that the security of all Dutch events are being reassessed. The Vierdaagse was first on the list. He added that there are no specific threats against the event.