Dutch police arrest suspects in planned 2015 synagogue attack


AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Dutch police arrested several suspects in connection with an unrealized plan to attack a synagogue in the country’s capital city a year ago, a local daily revealed.

The main suspect belonging to the ring, which is connected to Amsterdam’s Arrayan Sunni mosque, is a man in his 40s of Moroccan descent with a goatee and a receding hairline who possesses considerable knowledge of Islamic writings and drives a white Audi, according to a police document obtained last month by the Telegraaf daily.

The Dutch police’s TCI counterterrorism unit has been watching the suspect for month in connection with his alleged plans to strike with accomplices a synagogue in southern Amsterdam last January, according to the Telegraaf report, which said the suspect calls himself “Abdelhakim.” Several Muslims have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the alleged plan.

Two right-wing Dutch lawmakers, Louis Bontes and Joram van Klaveren, last week queried the Justice Ministry with critical questions on actions taken to protect Dutch Jews.

Separately, on Friday the Dutch daily Volkskrant reported that the country’s domestic intelligence agency, the General Intelligence and Security Service, had spied in 2009 and 2010 on the far-right politician Geert Wilders over his contacts in Israel and the extent of their influence on him.

Dutch media for years have suggested that Wilders, an anti-Islam populist and staunch advocate of Israel whose wife according to some reports is Jewish, is being paid by Israel or pro-Israeli groups. In 2012, Volkskrant published a caricature deemed by some critics as anti-Semitic, featuring Wilders receiving a wad of cash through a hole in a wall and saying in Hebrew: “Politely thanks.”

According to Volkskrant, counterintelligence officers interviewed 37 people in connection with the probe into Wilders’ ties to Israel, which is highly unusual for the security service because it involves a politician. There were “serious questions on Wilders’ loyalty and possible Israeli influence on him,” according to the Volkskrant, a left-leaning newspaper with an editorial attitude that is anti-Wilders and highly critical of Israel.

The report on the alleged terrorist plot by members of the Arrayan mosque community came amid discussions on replacing the permanent police protection at some Amsterdam synagogues with a cheaper video surveillance system that is favored by the municipality. The Jewish community of the Netherlands opposes the plan, citing elevated risk.

The attack allegedly planned by the main suspects and at least two suspected accomplices, who were identified in the police document only as Izzy and Ibo, was part of a larger terror plot timed to occur on the last day of 2015, the Telegraaf reported based on the leaked document.

Recommended from JTA