November 20, 2015 / 11:29 AM / 4 years ago

Police question suspects from Belgium; mayor escorted from scene

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Three men from Belgium were being questioned by police in Rotterdam on Friday, hours after their car was identified as suspect, leading to the evacuation of a restaurant where the city’s mayor was eating.

The men’s car, which had been stopped earlier in the week in the Netherlands, was found parked near a restaurant where Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb was dining.

Aboutaleb, a Sunni Muslim of Moroccan descent who heads the second-largest Dutch city, was escorted from the area as a precaution and the car was searched, a police statement said.

Nothing alarming was found, but police confiscated a small quantity drugs.

“The three suspects were found in a nearby park and taken to the police station,” it said.

Police spokesman Wessel Stolle declined to say if the men, who are 20-23 years old, were being questioned about possible links to the investigation into the French attacks.

One of the culprits in France, Salah Abdeslam, was fined in the Netherlands in February for drug possession and is believed to have run a cafe in a Brussels neighbourhood where drugs were sold.

Reporting By Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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