AMSTERDAM, July 16 (Reuters) – Up to 20 radical groups with several hundred members ready to use violence are present in the Netherlands, Interior Minister Johan Remkes was quoted as saying on Saturday.
Remkes also told a Dutch television station that the groups had women in their ranks, saying this was a new development.
“There are groups that are purely local and groups that have international connections, and you are talking in the order of 10 to 20 groups,” Remkes said, according to excerpts of an interview published on the web site of TV network IKON.
“It is not all men. Recently, this is a new phenomenon, women play a greater role, and also people with a Dutch background that have converted to Islam.”
Asked how many people belonged to the hard core of radical groups and were ready to use violence, he said: “Several hundred”.
“It is normally people who live here and who appear to be susceptible to radicalisation,” said Remkes, whose ministry oversees the Dutch intelligence service AIVD.
Dutch police stepped up border checks and increased security around British buildings in the country after the suicide bombings that killed more than 50 people in London last week.
Earlier this week, Dutch police arrested a 17-year-old after finding home-made explosives in his parents’ home. News agency ANP said the teenager had a Dutch-British background and converted to Islam when he was 14.
A Dutch-Moroccan teenager was acquitted in April of charges he planned attacks on government buildings, Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport and the Dutch parliament.
IKON is due to broadcast the interview on Saturday evening.