AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS — Police in the Netherlands have arrested three people on suspicion of planning to commit acts of terrorism, including one man who recently returned from Syria and is connected to an al-Qaeda-linked group, prosecutors said on Tuesday.
The national prosecutor’s office said the investigation into the men began this summer on the basis of information from the country’s General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD), The investigation focused on finding evidence against violent jihadists and information about their travel to Syria.
At least four search warrants were executed in various parts of the Netherlands on October 30. “Computers, tablets, storage devices and mobile phones were seized during the searches. The passports of six suspects were also confiscated,” a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office said.
Three arrests were made on Tuesday, including a 26-year-old man from the eastern city of Arnhem who previously traveled to Syria and is allegedly connected with the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front. The other two suspects, ages 26 and 30, were arrested in the southern city of Eindhoven. One of the two is also accused of financing jihadists in Syria.
“They are allegedly involved with the preparation of acts of terrorism and wanting to join Jabhat al-Nusra, a terrorist organization affiliated with al-Qaeda,” the prosecutor’s office said. Details about their alleged plans were not immediately disclosed, and it was not known whether they were plotting to carry out an attack in the Netherlands.
More than 3,000 citizens from the European Union are believed to have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join Islamist fighters, with most of them coming from Western countries such as France and Britain. The majority of European jihadists are believed to have joined Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) militants who have seized parts of the region and are attempting to establish a caliphate.