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Dutch police detain suspect in concert terror threat

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    In this image taken from video a van is examined behind a cordoned-off area in Rotterdam, today, after a concert by an American rock band was cancelled following a threat, the city’s mayor said.

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands >> Dutch police investigating a terror threat that prompted the cancellation of a concert by an American rock band in Rotterdam arrested a 22-year-old man in the early hours of Thursday.

Spokesman Roland Ekkers told The Associated Press the man was detained by a team in the province of Brabant, a sprawling region south of Rotterdam. The exact location of the man’s detention was not immediately released.

“He is in custody and will be questioned about the threat in Rotterdam,” police said in a statement, adding that they conducted a thorough search of his home. Dutch police do not generally release identities or other details of suspects in criminal investigations.

Meanwhile, police said the driver of a Spain-registered white van carrying a number of gas canisters that was stopped Wednesday night close to the Maassilo concert venue — where the band Allah-Las had been due to perform — is unlikely to be a suspect in the threat probe.

In a statement, police said the man was possibly drunk and will be questioned later Thursday.

Explosives experts checked his van and found nothing suspicious beyond the gas canisters, according to the police statement.

A search of the man’s home “uncovered no link with the terror threat … at the Maassilo,” police said. “The man, a repair man, had an explanation for the gas canisters that will be investigated today.”

The performance by the Los Angeles band in Rotterdam was called off Wednesday night after Spanish authorities tipped Dutch police about a possible threat to the concert.

The van driver was detained for questioning two hours after the cancellation.

A Spanish counterterrorism official said Spain’s Civil Guard received “an alert indicating the possibility of an attack in a concert that was going to take place in Rotterdam.”

The Civil Guard shared the information with Dutch authorities Wednesday and was investigating the threat, said the source, who spoke anonymously because the Civil Guard is still probing the threat.

The Dutch counterterror coordinator has not changed the country’s threat level as a result of the scare in Rotterdam. The threat is listed as “substantial,” the fourth step of a five-level scale.

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