Dutch police detain suspect in concert terror threat

Dutch police investigating a terror threat that prompted the cancellation of a concert by an American rock band in Rotterdam arrested a 22-year-old man in the early hours of Thursday.

Spokesman Roland Ekkers told The Associated Press the man was detained by a team in the province of Brabant, a sprawling region south of Rotterdam. The exact location of the man’s detention was not immediately released.

Los Angeles band Allah-Las called off its concert in Rotterdam Wednesday night after Spanish authorities tipped Dutch police about a possible threat to the show.

The suspect was “in custody and will be questioned about the threat in Rotterdam,” police said in a statement, adding that they conducted a thorough search of his home. Dutch police do not generally release identities or other details of suspects in criminal investigations.

Meanwhile, police said the driver of a Spain-registered white van carrying a number of gas canisters that was stopped Wednesday night close to the Maassilo concert venue is unlikely to be a suspect in the threat probe.

In a statement, police said the man, who was detained soon after the concert was called off, was possibly drunk and will be questioned later Thursday.

Explosives experts checked his van and found nothing suspicious beyond the gas canisters, according to the police statement.

A search of the man’s home “uncovered no link with the terror threat … at the Maassilo,” police said. “The man, a repair man, had an explanation for the gas canisters that will be investigated today.”

Dutch Counterterror Coordinator Dick Schoof commended the police action on Twitter, saying it was “alert, appropriate for the current threat level.”

It was not clear what the nature of the threat to the concert was, or if the band’s name played any role in the threat.

In an interview with British newspaper The Guardian last year, band members said they chose the word Allah, Arabic for God, because they were seeking a “holy sounding” name and did not realize it might cause offense.

“We get emails from Muslims, here in the US and around the world, saying they’re offended, but that absolutely wasn’t our intention,” lead singer Miles Michaud told the newspaper. “We email back and explain why we chose the name, and mainly they understand.”

According to their website, the band was scheduled to play in Warsaw, Poland, on Thursday night.

A Spanish counterterrorism official said Spain’s Civil Guard received “an alert indicating the possibility of an attack in a concert that was going to take place in Rotterdam.”

The Civil Guard shared the information with Dutch authorities Wednesday and was investigating the threat, said the source, who spoke anonymously because the Civil Guard is still probing the threat.

The Dutch counterterror coordinator has not changed the country’s threat level as a result of the scare in Rotterdam. The threat is listed as “substantial,” the fourth step of a five-level scale.

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