Dutch police free van driver in concert attack plan probe
THE HAGUE: Dutch police on Thursday released the driver of a van with Spanish licence plates, who was arrested in Rotterdam close to where a music concert was cancelled because of fears over a terror attack.
“The man was freed earlier this evening and is no longer a suspect in the investigation,” Rotterdam police said in a statement.
Dutch police on Thursday stepped up a probe into a suspected plan to attack a concert in the city by a US rock band after a “concrete” tip-off from Spanish authorities.
The unidentified man was arrested while driving a van with Spanish licence plates and carrying gas canisters close to the Maassilo concert hall where the gig was due to take place.
But there already were strong doubts on Thursday that he was in fact linked to the threat.
The driver was a mechanic who “appeared to be under the influence of an alcoholic substance,” police earlier said, adding officers had found a “couple of gas canisters” in his van.
He was detained and transferred to a police facility on Wednesday, police added, saying “his house was searched and no link with the terror threat was found.”
Spanish police also ruled the man out of the inquiry saying he had “five gas canisters in his van for domestic use” and was completely drunk.
“During questioning it was established that there are no links between the driver and the previous evening’s threat,” police said Thursday evening.
Rotterdam police chief Frank Paauw also agreed it seemed “the man had had the bad luck to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Police however were still questioning a 22-year-old man regarding the terror threat after he was arrested in a pre-dawn raid in the southern Brabant region.