Explosion at Amsterdam coffeeshop aimed at owner's brother: report

An explosion outside the Smoke Palace on Linnaeusstraat in Amsterdam Oost shattered apartment windows around the block, 3 March 2019
An explosion outside the Smoke Palace on Linnaeusstraat in Amsterdam Oost shattered apartment windows around the block, 3 March 2019Photo: NL Times

A second explosion at coffeeshop Smoke Palace on Linnaeusstraat in Amsterdam Oost on Sunday, seems to be aimed at Mustapha el Y., the brother of Smoke Palace owner Mohamed, Het Parool reports based on information from sources. Mustapha el Y. is on an underworld death list and his own company was targeted in the past, according to the newspaper.

On paper Mustapha el Y. has nothing to do with Smoke Palace. But according to Het Parool, it seems obvious that the family relationship may be the motive for two recent bombings at the coffeeshop, one on Sunday and one during the early hours of January 13th. Especially given the fact that Mohamed el Y. himself has no criminal reputation. 

Mustapha el Y.'s car rental company on Zeeburg was already the target of arson, "several reliable sources" told the newspaper. The man was warned multiple times that rivals wanted to kill him. The reason seems to be a conflict in soft drug trafficking, according to Het Parool.

After the first explosion on January 13th, the city of Amsterdam did not close the Smoke Palace. This partly had to do with the fact that the business was undergoing renovations at the time, and wasn't open anyway, according to the newspaper.

Sunday's explosion happened at around 5:10 a.m. The blast blew the doors off two buildings next to the coffeeshop, smashed holes in facades and window frames, and shattered windows hundreds of meters away. The police are still investigating what type of explosive was involved, and who is responsible. Investigators call on witnesses to come forward. 

Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema visited the site of the explosion on Sunday afternoon. "It is really drastic. Fortunately it only involved material damage, but you do see that there is real havoc in the homes. It could have been so much worse", she said to AT5 afterwards.

The mayor could not tell the broadcaster whether the coffeeshop will be closed after this second blast. "So far it is a coffee shop that is well regarded. And where there were actually no problems. And that is also the image that residents give. They are all really very fond of the owner and the coffeeshop." But she added: "Two explosions really are too many."

While the explosion shook local residents on Sunday, the Dapperbuurt was pretty much back to normal on Monday morning. Renovation crews were still clearing away debris and repairing the damage, but residents of the Amsterdam Oost neighborhood largely went about their business as usual.