Terror suspects nabbed after daylong standoff
THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- Special forces overpowered two suspected Islamic extremists Wednesday after a daylong armed standoff, adding to Dutch concerns that global terrorism has spread into their corner of Europe.
Police said five more suspects were detained in two other cities on a day that possible links emerged between the Muslim militant charged with murdering a Dutch filmmaker a week ago and terrorists allegedly involved in attacks and plots in Morocco and Spain.
The drama in The Hague, known as the City of Peace for the international peace institutions based here, was tied to what officials called coordinated raids on "a network of radical Muslims." Three police officers and one suspect were wounded.
The bloodshed began when police tried to force their way into a house in the Laak working-class neighborhood at 2:45 a.m. and a booby-trap bomb exploded, seriously injuring an officer, authorities said. Gunshots rang out and a suspect threw a grenade out the front door, witnesses said.
Hundreds of police and soldiers converged on the district behind the Hollands Spoor railway station and police helicopters hovered above as neighbors were evacuated. Eight to 10 gunshots were heard after 4 p.m., and then black-masked troopers fired tear gas and stormed the house just before nightfall, arresting two suspects, one of whom had been shot in the shoulder.
Police said a third suspect was arrested in Amersfoort and four were detained in Amsterdam in related operations.
Ethnic tensions have been high in the Netherlands since the Nov. 2 slaying of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, who had criticized Islamic fundamentalism.
Six suspects, believed to be members of a radical Islamic terrorist group, are in police custody in connection with the murder, including the alleged killer, Mohammed Bouyeri, 26, who holds dual Dutch and Moroccan citizenship.