Terror attack thwarted as police smash Islamist cell

GELDERLAND NEWS    
     POLICE Cops swooped on seven suspects today in the Netherlands

GELDERLAND NEWS POLICE Cops swooped on seven suspects today in the Netherlands

Dutch police have arrested seven men suspected of plotting a large attack with hand grenades, automatic weapons and explosives belts, according to prosecutors.

The gang, led by a 34-year-old man of Iraqi origin, is alleged to have plotted to attack the site of a large event using vehicle bombs, suicide vests and assault rifles.

Prosecutors believe the suspects wanted to carry out twin attacks involving a bomb and gun attack at an event and a auto bomb detonated elsewhere.

The arrests were the culmination of an investigation that began in April and yielded a "detailed view of the preparations by the suspects", according to a translation of the prosecution service's website.

Three others in the group had also been arrested before for attempting to travel overseas to fight for foreign militant organisations.

The men, aged between 21 and 34, were arrested on Thursday.

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Police in the Netherlands have prevented a "major terrorist attack" after arrests were made on Thursday.

They say the investigation had to be accelerated because of the suspects' "advanced preparations".

"They weren't so far that it was a danger to society", he said.

The men were to be brought before an investigating judge on Friday at a behind-closed-doors hearing.

The anti-terror coordinator has decided not to raise the threat level in light of the arrests.

The arrests came weeks after a 19-year-old Afghan citizen living in Germany allegedly stabbed two American tourists at Amsterdam's main railway station in what prosecutors described as an attack with an extremist motive.

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