Heavy blast near Amsterdam Oost coffeeshop targeted in January
An explosion outside a coffee shop in Amsterdam Oost on Sunday morning prompted officials to evacuate several buildings in the area. The blast was the second to take place near the Smoke Palace in the last six weeks.
No injuries were reported in the immediate aftermath on Linnaeusstraat, were the incident took place.
Police were hesitant to say that Smoke Palace was the target of the explosion, but did say that an explosive was the likely source of the blast. "We still have to determine with certainty exactly where [the explosive] was placed and set off," an official told Nu.nl.
Police indicated they wanted to speak with any witnesses in the area. A journalist at the scene said two people were seen leaving the area on a scooter as the 5:10 a.m. explosion occurred.
#Explosie bij #coffeeshop Smoke Palace om 05:10 uur #Linnaeusstraat #Amsterdam Oost. Meerdere ramen van woningen en winkels op zo'n 10m afstand sneuvelden. Twee personen op scooter gevlucht. Op 13 januari van dit jaar was het ook al raak bij dezelfde coffeeshop. @Politie_Adam pic.twitter.com/Al1xqEkx0H— Martin Damen (@martindamen58) March 3, 2019
Surveillance officers said they saw a flash of light as a loud bang sounded in the area, Nu.nl reported. "Several buildings have been damaged in this attack," police said.
Forensic investigators were collecting evidence and analyzing the scene by 9:30 a.m., once the explosives unit confirmed the area was secure, police said.
Grenades and other explosives left outside of businesses has been a frequent method of extortion over the past year. Previously, when an explosive was found outside of a business, that firm was temporarily shut down by the the city in an attempt to protect the neighborhood. The city has been re-evaluating this policy to offer more protections to legitimate business owners.
On Sunday, city inspectors were slated to examine the severity of the damage to the affected buildings.
After the first blast rocked the Smoke Palace on January 13, the coffeeshop owner told others that there was "a huge fireball during the explosion," according to the Telegraaf. That incident blew out windows of businesses down the street, and was heavy enough to damage doorways of adjacent buildings.
A scooter was also seen leaving the area at the time of the initial incident, the newspaper said.