Netherlands terrorism threat increases
The probability of a terrorist attack being carried out on Dutch soil has risen over the past half year, the National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism stated in its threat assessment on Tuesday, underlining threats from far-right and Islamist groups.
The National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism (NCTV) is the country’s main counterterrorism unit and falls under the responsibility of Justice and Security Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius (VVD/Renew).
“There are increasing signs that jihadist organisations are preparing to carry out terrorist attacks. These groups mention the Netherlands explicitly as a target. A terrorist attack from right-wing extremist circles also remains possible,” the threat assessment reads.
“Finally, loners or small groups, who have turned against the government on the basis of a conspiracy mindset, could proceed to [carry out] an act of violence,” it adds.
The assessment explicitly points out the increased risk of a potential terrorist attack by the Islamic State (IS), which has members and supporters in the Netherlands and Europe. Recent anti-Muslim protests in Europe, which included the burning of the Quran, may have added fuel to the fire.
The threat potential emanating from far-right extremism is also mentioned in the assessment.
“By capitalising on popular concerns about the loss of traditions, culture and identity, right-wing extremists are trying to sensitise larger groups to the great replacement theory,” the assessment states, referring to the far-right conspiracy theory that maintains that non-white people, mostly from Muslim-majority countries, are replacing the ethnically white population in Europe.
The assessment also touches upon the topic of “anti-institutional extremism”, stating that supporters of conspiracy theories are hindering politicians from carrying out their work in an unobstructed manner.
“When individuals widely challenge the legitimacy of government and democratic institutions, this can eventually undermine the democratic rule of law,” the assessment also reads.
Despite the assessment concluding that there is a higher threat of a terrorist attack on Dutch soil, it did not increase its so-called “threat level”, which is still at 3 on a scale of 1-5.
“Threat level 4 means that the chance of an attack is real. We are not ready for that yet, but there is an increase in the threat,” Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, head of the NCTV, told NOS.
(Benedikt Stöckl | EURACTIV.com)