Netherlands threat level, travel advice remain unchanged after Spain attacks
There is no reason to increase the terrorism threat level in the Netherlands following two terrorist attacks in Spain, National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security Dick Schoof said on Friday. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also sees no reason to adjust the travel advice for Spain, Minister Bert Koenders said to the council of Ministers.
The threat level in the Netherlands remains at four out of five - that means that there is a real chance of an attack in the country, but no concrete indications that one is being planned. The coordinator is following the situation in Spain closely, he said to the Telegraaf. His team continually checks whether the measures in the Netherlands need to be updated.
"Many visible and invisible measures have already been taken", Schoof Said, according to the newspaper. "At the moment, investigation is being conducted into the background and circumstances of he attacks. The consequences for the Netherlands and possible measures are also being identified."
Koenders told the Council of Ministers on Friday that he is not adjusting the travel advice for Spain, ANP reports. But he did call it important that Dutch in Spain listen to the advice of the local authorities. "From there I leave it up to individuals", Koenders said, according to the news wire. "For some, this is reason to cancel their vacations, others say: we'll go on, the world goes on."
Thirteen people were killed and at least 100 were injured, including three Dutch when a van crashed into a crowd of people on the Ramblas in Barcelona. After the attack, the Spanish police launched a manhunt for the suspects. A few hours later five terrorists were killed in the coastal town of Cambrils in an anti-terror action, NU.nl reports. Seven people were injured when the terrorists crashed their vehicle into a group of people. The Spanish authorities report that one of the injured died, brining the total number of victims up to 14.
Whether the vehicle crashing into pedestrians in Cambrils was a planned attack, or an effort to get away from the police, is not entirely clear. The men were gunned down as they got out of the car. They were wearing bomb-belts, which later turned out to be fake.
The Spanish authorities believe that the terrorists killed in Cambrils belong to the same cell as the attackers in Barcelona. They also believe that by killing them, another possible attack was prevented. The authorities think that a group of eight terrorists were involved in planning the Barcelona attack, including the five killed in Cambrils.
In addition to the five men killed in Cambrils, the Spanish police arrested three other people for involvement in Barcelona. The three detainees include a Moroccan and a Spaniard. Despite already having eight suspects either dead or in custody, the authorities are still looking for the man who actually drove the van into the Ramblas crowd. He fled on foot after the attack.
The van was rented under the name of the Moroccan suspect. He told the authorities that he was not involved and that his ID was stolen. He believes it was his younger brother, who looks a lot like him, who stole his identity card. The authorities are therefore looking for this 18-year-old boy, suspected of being the driver of the van.