September 27, 2018 / 6:06 PM / in 22 days

Dutch police arrest seven for plotting attack

(Reuters) - Dutch authorities on Thursday arrested seven men suspected of plotting a large attack with hand grenades, automatic weapons and explosives belts, prosecutors said.

Three of the seven suspects had previously been detained after attempting to join foreign militants abroad. The lead suspect was a 34-year-old Iraqi who was convicted in 2017 for travelling abroad to join Islamic State insurgents.

The men, aged 21-34, were detained in four locations across the Netherlands after nearly six months of investigations by authorities.

“The suspects were in search of AK47s, hand guns, hand grenades, explosive vests and raw materials for several (car) bombs,” prosecutors said in a statement. They will be brought before a judge on Friday.

Police were initially tipped off by the intelligence service than the main suspect was targeting “a large event in the Netherlands where there would be a lot of victims.”

The arrests took place nearly a month after an Afghan man was shot by police at Amsterdam’s central station after stabbing two American tourists.

Reporting by Anthony Deutsch, Editing by William Maclean

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