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Terrorist Attack at Rotterdam Concert Foiled, Dutch Police Say

The discovery of the canisters was an immediate source of concern in light of the attacks in Spain by a terrorist cell that had similar canisters at a bomb-making factory in a house in the coastal town of Alcanar. The cell also used a van in its attack in Barcelona.

A blast on the evening of Aug. 16 that destroyed the house in Alcanar was initially attributed to a gas explosion, but investigators later determined that the cell had stored more than 100 canisters in the house and had been planning to use them for an even deadlier attack that had to be abandoned.

Unlike its neighbors, Belgium and Germany, the Netherlands has been spared direct terrorist attacks on its soil in recent years, although its citizens have been victims of attacks elsewhere.

Security has been visibly ramped up in recent months across Europe, but on prominent public squares in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, the police presence tends to be subdued, and it is still unusual to see an automatic rifle in the hands of the Dutch authorities. At the seat of government in The Hague, Parliament buildings are protected by well-armed national police, but government buildings are not.

On prominent public squares in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, the police presence tends to be subdued, and it is still unusual to see an automatic rifle in the hands of the Dutch authorities. At the seat of government in The Hague, Parliament buildings are protected by well-armed national police, but government buildings are not.

Politically, however, there has been a change in thinking, according to Ronald Kroeze, a political scientist at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. “Whenever the prime minister, Mark Rutte, comments on terrorist attacks abroad, there’s a sense that we are lucky that it hasn’t happened here,” he said.

Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb of Rotterdam said that officers had become suspicious of the van when they observed it starting and stopping several times. The police said in a statement that the driver had appeared to be inebriated, and an officer who inspected the van noticed the gas canisters.

The driver, a mechanic, was detained, but bomb experts found nothing else of interest after conducting a search of the van.

A search of the driver’s house found nothing of significance, according to the police, who were checking his permit to carry gas canisters. He “will be questioned when sober,” the statement said.

The members of Allah-Las, who were already at the venue when the warning came from the Spanish authorities, were driven to an unknown location by the police. The band, which is scheduled to play Thursday night in Warsaw, released a statement to The Associated Press saying its members were safe and thanking the local authorities for their help. The mayor said they were welcome to return.

Allah-Las, a breezy, throwback guitar-pop band based in Los Angeles, have released three albums on small independent labels since 2012, including its most recent, “Calico Review,” last year. This summer, the group has performed at musical festivals across Europe and is scheduled to play at a Polish club on Thursday before two additional festival dates in France this weekend.

The band has said it sought a “holy sounding” name, inspired by the ’80s rock group the Jesus and Mary Chain. “We get emails from Muslims, here in the U.S. and around the world, saying they’re offended, but that absolutely wasn’t our intention,” Miles Michaud, the lead singer, told The Guardian last year. “We email back and explain why we chose the name, and mainly they understand.”

Source: NYT > World

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