Former Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert says that in 2015 she verbally informed then Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs about possible civilian deaths during a bombardment by Dutch F-16s in Iraq, and she may also have told Prime Minister Mark Rutte. She did not mention how many victims there were, only that there may have been civilian casualties, Minister Ank Bijleveld of Defense said in a letter to parliament on Monday night, NOS reports.
The Netherlands was involved in two airstrikes in Iraq in 2015 in which at least 74 people, including civilians, were killed, Minister Ank Bijleveld of Defense confirmed in a letter to parliament. The Ministry of Defense was aware of civilian casualties from the start, but did not report them to the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament. This is the first time the Ministry released details bout air strikes carried out by Dutch F-16 fighter jets in the fight against terrorist organization ISIS, NOS reports.
The VVD's newest parliamentarian Thierry Aartsen, who will replace Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert in the Tweede Kamer on Thursday, is facing criticism about comments he made on Twitter in the past. Despite the controversy, Aartsen can count on the support of faction leader Klaas Dikjhof. As far as he is concerned, Aartsen is "most welcome" in the VVD parliamentary faction, NU.nl reports.
Stef Blok will be appointed the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Telegraaf reports on Monday. He is expected to be sworn in on Friday.
VVD member Blok was Minister of Housing and later the Minister of Justice and Security in the previous government. He will now be succeeding Halbe Zijlstra, who stepped down a few weeks ago after lying about meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Klaas Dijkhoff (VVD) will be the Minister of Defense for the final weeks of the departing government's reign. He is taking over from Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, who stepped down on Tuesday due to a mortar grenade accident in Mali that killed two Dutch soldiers last year. King Willem-Alexander swore Dijkhoff in on Wednesday morning, AD reports.
Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert (VVD) resigned on Tuesday evening, after hours of debate in the Tweede Kamer about the Dutch Safety Board's report on the deaths of two Dutch soldiers deployed to a UN mission in Mali last year. Henry Hoving and Kevin Roggeveld were killed when a mortar grenade exploded while still in the firing tube during training.
Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert stepped down as Minister of Defense. After hours of debate in the Tweede Kamer on Tuesday evening, she took the political responsibility for negligence in the Defense organization that resulted in the death of two soldiers in Mali last year. Commander of the Armed Forces Tom Middendorp also resigned.
Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert of Defense will face the hardest parliamentary debate of her career on Tuesday afternoon. The Tweede Kamer will debate with her the conclusions of the Dutch Safety Board's investigation into a mortar grenade exploding during training in Mali last year, killing two Dutch soldiers. With parliamentarians being almost unanamously critical, the question is not only whether Hennis will survive this debate as Defense Minister, but also whether she will still have a position in the new Dutch government.
Greetje Groenbroek, the mother of one of two soldiers killed in a mortar grenade explosion in Mali last year, plans to take legal action against the Ministry of Defense. On Thursday the Dutch Safety Board concluded that the grenades used in the UN mission in Mali were unsafe and that the medical treatment available to soldiers there is not in order.
Next week Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert of Defense will face the Tweede Kamer in a debate about a faulty grenade that cost the lives of two Dutch soldiers, and seriously injured a third, in Mali last year.
The Ministry of Defense "falls seriously short" in ensuring the safety of Dutch soldiers deployed to the UN mission in Mali, the Dutch Safety Board concluded in its investigation into an accident in which two Dutch soldiers were killed and another was injured when a mortar grenade exploded during a training exercise last year. Both the safety of the grenade and the medical care were not in order, ANP reports.
Last year there were five investigations within the Dutch Armed Forces into possible radicalization of employees, ANP reports based on documents received from Defense at the news wire's request. Three of the investigations concluded that the involved employees were not radicalized. The other two are still ongoing.
Rob Verkerk, Commander of the Dutch Armed Forces, and Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs called critical statements by Sint Maarten Prime Minister William Marlin about Dutch soldiers on the island "complete nonsense". In an interview with NRC, Marlin said that Dutch soldiers did nothing to stop looting on the island after Hurricane Irma.
The Dutch Ministers involved in providing aid to the islands affected by Hurricane Irma on Wednesday, are meeting in the National Crisis Center in The Hague at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday morning. The main purpose of this meeting is to map what aid exactly the islands of Sint Maarten, Saba and Sint Eustatius need, Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs and Kingdom relations said to broadcaster NOS.
In January the Netherlands will again deploy F-16 fighter jets to fight in the coalition against terrorist organization ISIS in Syria and Iraq, sources confirmed to the Telegraaf. A total of six jets will be sent, four for fighting and two as reserve, and they will be stationed at the Al-Azraq airbase in Jordan, according to the newspaper.
The joint unions of Defense personnel are planning labor actions twice this week. Friday's action may result in longer than usual queues at the airports in Eindhoven and Rotterdam, ANP reports.
On Friday the Koninklijke Marechaussee will perform extra strict and thorough passport checks at these airports. This may cause longer queues and extra inconvenience for passengers. The Koninklijke Marechaussee is a policing force that works as part of the Dutch military and is responsible for border security, including at airports and harbors.
Two Iraqis hit in air strikes while fleeing from Mosul on January 26th, 2015, want to know whether Dutch F-16s were involved. Lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld asked for clarification from Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert in a letter sent to NRC on Thursday.
A "disturbed white man" stole an army truck from the Oirschot military base and took it for a joyride through Eindhoven, Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said to parliament on Wednesday. The 21-year-old man from Veldhoven brought the truck back later that night and was arrested. He is still in custody, ANP reports.
NATO is joining the coalition fighting against terrorist organization ISIS in Syria and Iraq, the 28 NATO member states decided on Wednesday. The Netherlands will contribute two planes to the fight against Islamic State this year, Ministers Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs and Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert announced.
At 8:00 p.m. on Thursday the Netherlands commemorated the victims of World War II with two minutes of silence. Eleven people were arrested at or around the Remembrance Day commemoration ceremony on Dam Square in Amsterdam. According to the police, most committed minor offenses, AD reports.
Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert wants to keep Dutch soldiers in Lithuania for longer, she said during a visit to the soldiers there. Officially the mission ends at the end of this year, but she thinks the Dutch aid will be needed for longer, RTL Nieuws reports.
"We will stay here for as long as die situation requires it, but we will also look at what other allies can do", Hennis said, according to the broadcaster. "Huge investments are being made here."
From next year military conscription in the Netherlands will also apply to women, if the Dutch government has its way. This is a purely symbolic measure for equal treatment as conscription was suspended in 1997, ANP reports.
Since 1997 every boy gets a letter at age 17 to say that he has reached conscription age, though the letter does not oblige him to join the military. From next year girls will also get that letter.
Two thirds of Defense personnel have no confidence in the top military leadership, according to a survey of nearly 8,500 Defense employees by military unions AFMP, ACOM, VBM and KVMO. More than 84 percent say that Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert does not give them more confidence in the organization, the Telegraaf reports.
Three Dutch war ships that were sunk by the Japanese navy during the Battle of the Java Sea in 1942, are indeed missing from the seabed off the coast of Indonesia, the Ministry of Defense announced. The initial results of an investigation also shows traces of a salvage operation, AD reports.