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Three Released In Dutch Hostage Drama As Police Dismiss Terror Motive

 

Three of the hostages being held in a cafe in central Netherlands have been released, police said on Saturday, but did not yet sound the all-clear.

Authorities have evacuated the centre of the town of Ede since early morning, after several people were held at the Cafe Petticoat.

“Three hostages have just been released. The situation is not over yet,” police said in a statement on X, formerly Twitter.

Images on public broadcaster NOS showed three young people leaving the building with their hands in the air.

Police have said there was currently no reason to suspect a “terrorist motive” for the incident in Ede.

READ ALSO: Several People Taken Hostage In Dutch Town

It is not known how many people were initially being held but local media have reported around four or five people are involved.

Police said they had cleared a cordon around the cafe, with residents of around 150 houses being brought to safety.

The local municipality said on its website that the town centre had been closed off and that riot police and explosives experts were at the scene.

Authorities called on residents to avoid the town centre and train traffic was being diverted.

“We see there are many questions about the motive. At this time there is no indication of a terrorist motive,” police said.

The Netherlands has seen a series of terror attacks and plots but not on the scale of other European countries, such as France or Britain.

In 2019, the country was stunned by a shooting spree on a tram in the city of Utrecht that claimed four lives.

A Turkish-born man identified as Gokmen Tanis later admitted a terror motive for the rampage that virtually shut down the country’s fourth biggest city.

Also in 2019, Dutch police charged two suspected jihadists with planning a terror attack using suicide bombs and car bombs. Authorities said an attack was planned that year.

A young Afghan man identified only as “Jawed S.” stabbed two American tourists at Amsterdam Central Station in 2018, later telling judges he wanted “to protect the Prophet Mohammed.”

The assault came a day after far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders announced he was cancelling a plan to stage a cartoon competition to caricature the Prophet Mohammed.

At the time Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid urged Muslims to attack Dutch troops after Wilders’ “hostile act by this country (the Netherlands) against all Muslims.”

In the most serious incident involving a terror attack, outspoken Dutch anti-Islam film director Theo van Gogh was shot and stabbed to death in 2004 in Amsterdam by a man with ties to a Dutch Islamist terror network.

AFP

Ignatius Igwe

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