Sunday 18 March 2018

Second man is arrested after concert terror tip-off

Miles Michaud, lead singer of the California band Allah-Las. Photo: AP
Miles Michaud, lead singer of the California band Allah-Las. Photo: AP

Barney Henderson

Dutch police said yesterday they had arrested another man after cancelling a Rotterdam concert by a US rock band following a tip-off about a possible terror threat.

The man was detained before dawn in the Brabant region, police said in a statement, adding that the driver of a van with Spanish plates carrying gas canisters who was detained late on Wednesday in Rotterdam also remained in custody.

The arrests came after last week's twin vehicle attacks in Spain that killed 15 people, which were claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) group.

"A 22-year-old man from Brabant was arrested yesterday morning in the investigation into a terrorist threat Wednesday evening in Rotterdam," police said in a statement.

It was the second arrest after that of the Spanish van driver who was detained only hours after officials cancelled a concert by Los Angeles rock group Allah-Las.

The driver, who was "possibly driving under the influence", was "arrested because of his driving", police said, adding that officers had found a "number of gas canisters" in his van.

The man, whom police said was a mechanic, was interviewed again yesterday.

But Dutch authorities have cautioned there may be no link between the van driver and the tip-off which came from Spanish police.

Spanish and French police launched a Europe-wide manhunt last week for members of a terror cell that carried out the deadly van attack on Barcelona's Las Ramblas last Wednesday.

Spanish police later found bomb-making equipment that included more than 100 tanks of butane gas, nails, and 500 litres of acetone peroxide, which can be used as a crude and unstable homemade explosive.

There were no suggestions on Wednesday night that the apparent foiled terror plot in Rotterdam was linked to the Barcelona cell.

Sources said there was no connection with Barcelona and that the tip-off about the Rotterdam plot was the result of an investigation by the Spanish Civil Guard that had been under way for some time

Ahmed Aboutaleb, the mayor of Rotterdam, warned against "swift conclusions".

"It would be wrong at this moment to pile up these facts and conclude: thus there was a plan to attack with gas bottles, et cetera, because that was the picture last week in Barcelona. I would be careful with that," he said.

In an interview with 'The Guardian' last year, band members said they chose their name because they were seeking a "holy sounding" name and did not realise it might cause offence.

Irish Independent

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