Amsterdam Pride target of foiled terrorist attack
Amsterdam Pride was one of the targets of a terrorist attack foiled when the authorities arrested six men from Arnhem in September last year, according to an email read in the trial against the six suspects on Friday, De Gelderlander reports.
"You decide what is easy for you guys to bring candy. First we wanted to join military parade, but then a gay parade in August," the email read. "Candy" in the email apparently meaning weapons. According to the Public Prosecutor, the plan was first to set off a car bomb and then send several people in with bomb vests and assault rifles to "shoot like crazy at a festival".
This email was sent by prime suspect Hardi N. to a confidant - believed to be an infiltrator for intelligence service AIVD. The suspects were arrested a month after Amsterdam Pride happened. Hardi N. could not get hold of weapons in time, was said in court on Friday.
The group, who came to be known as the 27 September cell, was arrested after an undercover police operation, started based on information from the AIVD in 2018. Two undercover police officers posed as weapons dealers and made contact with N. They supplied the group with deactivated rifles and bomb vests and trained them on how to use these weapons in a holiday home in Weert, where recording devices were installed beforehand.
Hardi N. previously claimed entrapment, saying AIVD infiltrators - hidden behind online aliases Hardi had contact with for years - provoked him into planning an attack. According to the suspect, he can prove this based on messages on a phone that went missing. His lawyers therefore asked that AIVD employees involved in the operation be called to testify. The Public Prosecutor argued that this is unnecessary "because there is no indication of entrapment".
On Friday morning the court ruled that it is not yet necessary to call AIVD employees to testify. "We can not yet judge whether that is necessary, we will do that after hearing this case here in court," the judge said.
Hardi N. refused to speak in court on Friday, saying he will not talk until the AIVD infiltrators do. Suspect Nabil B. also invoked his right to remain silent. The other suspects claimed that they didn't want to commit an attack in the Netherlands.
Wail el A. said that he was only at the holiday park in Weert because he wanted to get in touch with someone who could help him go to Syria. "I wanted to live in an Islamic state where I can practice my faith," he said. The Prosecutor said that it has sound clips in which El A. talks in detail about planning the attack. According to the judiciary, he also tried on a bomb vest in the holiday home.
Suspect Morat M. said he attended the meeting because he "needed weapons" to protect his wife who is regularly threatened on the street because she wheres a burka. "What I did wrong: I wanted to have weapons. I realize that some statements seem real radical. But if the infiltrator hadn't pretended to be a radical Muslim, those statements wouldn't have been made. Then we would have spoken scarface language about a robbery or something." According to the Prosecutor, he also spoke about modifications to the bomb vest and how he would set it off when a police officer approached to take them with.