THE HAGUE, Sept 14, (Agencies): The Netherlands has stripped four jihadist fighters of their Dutch nationality under tough new anti-terror legislation, a top minister announced Wednesday. “These four persons have joined a terror organisation in a conflict area,” Safety and Justice Minister Stef Blok said in a statement. “They have been declared undesirable aliens which means that it is no longer possible for them to travel to The Netherlands or any other Schengen country,” Blok said, referring to Europe’s passport-free zone. Although Blok did not name the four men, Dutch media listed them as “known Syria travellers Driss B., Noureddin B., Anis Z. and Hatim R.” Driss B. and Noureddin B. were sentenced last year and Anis Z. and Hatim R. in 2015 to six years each in absentia for being members of a criminal terror organisation.
The four had previously travelled to Syria to join jihadist fighters including the Islamic State group, local news reports said. Their current whereabouts are unknown. “This includes Driss B., who is doubted to still be alive,” national news agency ANP reported. The Netherlands in March approved tough new legislation that gives the government the power to take away citizenship, even if a person has not been convicted of a crime.
The law has been criticised by opposition parties including Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s outgoing junior Labour coalition partner because it can only be applied to people with double nationality. A Dutchman arrested in connection with a suspected terror plot against a Rotterdam concert venue will be released on bail to await trial, prosecutors said Wednesday.
The number of people arrested in Britain on suspicion of terrorism offences rocketed by 68 percent in the last year to the highest figure on record during a period when the country suffered four deadly attacks, figures showed on Thursday. Statistics from the Home Office (interior ministry) showed there were 379 arrests in the year to June, up from 226 from the 12 previous months, and the most since 2001 when the data began to be collected. Britain is on its second-highest threat level, “severe”, meaning an attack is highly likely and 36 people were killed in terrorist incidents in the first six months of 2017.
A local police official says an unarmed man assaulted police officers while shouting “Allahu akbar” in the southern French city of Toulouse. The man was detained by police Wednesday after he allegedly punched and kicked several people in the street, as well as the officers who came to arrest him. Three police officers and two bystanders were slightly injured. The police official says the incident is not being treated as terrorism related. “Allahu akbar” is Arabic for “God is great”.