Driver of van with gas ganisters arrested near concert hall in Rotterdam, concert canceled

Updated 2017-08-24 09:33:08 Xinhua

Dutch police are investigating a threat in Rotterdam with a Spanish van with gas ganisters being halted and the driver being arrested on Wednesday night.

The van with a Spanish license plate was halted between 9 and 10 p.m. local time on the Mijnsherenlaan street on Wednesday night. The driver was arrested and taken to the police station for questioning. Some report said it was a Spanish.

The van was checked by the Dutch explosive ordnance disposal service. Around 11:30 p.m. local time, the bus was declared safe and driven to the police station.

During a press conference, Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said the van was driving suspiciously from one way to another on the street near the Maassilo concert hall, where a pop concert was cancelled earlier on Wednesday night after orders of the police due to a terror threat.

The building was being evacuated shortly after 7 p.m. and dozens of people who wanted to attend the concert, which hadn't started yet, could not get in. A team of the Dutch Special Intervention Service (DSI) was present in case of an emergency situation.

The link between the van and the terror threat at the Maassilo concert hall is being investigated. "It is too early to draw conclusions," Aboutaleb stated.

On Wednesday afternoon, Rotterdam mayor Aboutaleb received the warning of a terror threat from the Spanish police, who are extra alert after the recent attacks in Spain. The message was that a terrorist attack was planned during the concert. According to Aboutaleb, the threat was serious enough to cancel the concert.

There was a concert scheduled by Allah-Las, a U.S. pop group from California. The name of Allah-Las has, according to the band members, no religious link.

In a reaction, the Dutch National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism (NCTV) stated that the event does not mean the threat level in the Netherlands should be raised.

The terrorist threat level in the Netherlands is on "substantial", level 4 on a scale of 5, since March 2013. That means the chance of an attack in the Netherlands is real but there are no specific indications that terrorists are preparing to carry out an attack in the Netherlands.

It is reported that the event in Rotterdam is not connected to the Spanish attacks last week.

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