Dutch police arrest six suspects in terror case

THE HAGUE, Netherlands: Dutch police arrested five men and a woman suspected of recruiting radical Muslims for jihad, or holy war, in other countries, possibly including Iraq, prosecutors announced Tuesday.

The six suspects were arrested Monday and Tuesday in Amsterdam and The Hague, said a statement by the National Public Prosecutor’s office.

An investigation was launched last year when the Secret Service tipped off the prosecutor’s office that three young men from The Hague were interested in taking part in fighting for Islamic extremists.

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The three had traveled to the Caspian Sea state of Azerbaijan where they were arrested by local authorities and sent back to the Netherlands under a police escort. They were released and sent home, the statement said.

“The investigation … has since then revealed that jihad fighters are being recruited using hate-inciting texts and films,” the statement said. “Central in the ideology is the alleged duty of every Muslim to take part in jihad.”

No details of the identities of the six suspects were released, and it was not immediately clear if they had been charged with any offense.

“Some of the suspects are believed to have been trying to obtain false travel documents for Iraq,” the statement said. “National investigators are trying to establish whether they formed a terror organization.”

The arrests came at a time when surveys indicate the Dutch are growing less afraid of a terror attack in their country, two years after an Islamic extremist murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh, whose movie “Submission,” was considered blasphemous by many Muslims.

According to a poll of 845 people conducted last month by the office of the National Counterterrorism Coordinator, only 20 percent of respondents called terrorism their greatest worry, down from 39 percent in August last year. The poll’s margin of error was not immediately available.

The announcement also came as another terror case was reaching its climax in a Dutch court. On Monday, prosecutors asked the court for sentences of up to 15 years for six Muslims accused of plotting attacks on Dutch politicians. Possible targets of the group included Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somalia-born former lawmaker and prominent critic of radical Islam who wrote the script for “Submission.”

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