Arnhem terror suspects were able to produce 0.5 kilos of explosives

SWAT team entering a home - 7 men arrested for planning a terrorist attack, 27 Sept 2018
SWAT team entering a home - 7 men arrested for planning a terrorist attack, 27 Sept 2018Photo: Screenshot / @PolitieLE / Twitter

The chemicals and fertilizer found around the arrests of six suspected terrorists in Arnhem and Weert in September, were enough to make half a kilogram of explosives, the Public Prosecutor said in a proforma hearing against the six suspects on Monday. With that they could have caused a big explosion, according to the Prosecutor, AD reports.

Only four of the six suspects, including main suspect Hardi N., were present in the courtroom for the hearing. The other two authorized their lawyer Serge Weening to represent their interests. 

The actual trial against the suspects will likely only start next year. All six suspects still have to go for psychological examination in the Pieter Baan Center. They will be observed in the center in phases, two by two, was revealed in the court. The authorities are also looking into how a group observation can be done. That will take around 18 weeks, according tot he newspaper.

Suspect Hardi N. also indicated that he wants to make a statement and gave the authorities access to his cellphone. The phone contains 120 GB of information, and it will take a long time to review everything on it, the Prosecutor said.

The suspected jihadists were arrested in September last year in Weert and Arnhem. The arrests happened shortly after four of the suspects left a holiday home in Weert, where they were training with Kalashnikov machine guns and explosive vests. What they did not know is that those weapons had been disabled and their weapons suppliers were actually undercover police officers

According to the Public Prosecutor, the group around N. was planning to commit a major attack at an event in the Netherlands. There were speculations that they were targeting Pride Amsterdam, but their actual target has never been confirmed. 

The lawyers representing the suspects have been asking for months for more information about the undercover police operation. They also want more clarity on the involvement of intelligence service AIVD - who put the police on the suspects' trail. The lawyers want to know more about the contacts between the suspects and the undercover cops to assess whether there was incitement or entrapment. The court previously agreed that the two undercover cops can be questioned, but the AIVD never provides information about its operations.