Authorities in Spain, the Netherlands and across Europe are on alert after a series of terrorist attacks in which vehicles have been to plow into innocent bystanders, the latest of which happened in Barcelona last Thursday, in which another van was used to fatally run down 13 people on the popular Las Ramblas street. It’s not yet clear whether the van found in Rotterdam is connected to the cell that carried out the Barcelona attack, or any other terrorist group.
The driver of a van with Spanish license plates and gas canisters inside has been detained in Rotterdam, the mayor’s office confirmed. The van was found where the venue where a concert was earlier canceled due to a “terrorist threat.”
The mayor, Ahmed Aboutaleb, told a news conference that a vehicle with Spanish license plates and gas bottles was found near the Maassilo venue in the city, where a rock concert due to take place on Wednesday was canceled.
Police did not mention the nature of the threat, but said their investigation was ongoing.
“Police took this information seriously enough that, after a discussion with the organizers, it was decided to cancel the event,” the Rotterdam police said in their statement.
The tip-off on the threat came from the Spanish police.
A Californian band called the Allah-Lahs was due to play at the venue.
The Allah-Lahs, a four-piece band, told the Guardian newspaper last year that they wanted a “holy sounding” name for their group and didn’t think it would offend Muslims. On Wednesday, they were escorted away from Maassilo while armed officers secured the perimeter.
Europe Funding Terrorism
Last year, Denmark discovered that dozens of its citizens who left for Syria and Iraq to fight alongside Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) continued to receive social benefits at home. In total, the jihadists received the hefty sum of 672,000 kroner (around $94,500) from municipalities and state-subsidized funds.
The situation was blamed on a lack of awareness in the municipalities and the sluggishness of the country’s intelligence services, who failed to issue a warning about the dangerous individuals.
Moreover, the British housing and child welfare system has unwittingly “supplied” terrorists with “hundreds of thousands of pounds,” a former independent reviewer of UK terrorism legislation, Lord Carlile, claimed last year.
“[Such activity] has increased during the rise of ISIS. Certainly, the government should ensure that there is no more triage available when housing benefits recipients are known to have gone to another country,” Carlile said.
The travel expenses of the terrorists who organized the 2016 Brussels bombings, which killed 32 and injured some 300, were partially funded by falsely claimed British social benefits, a UK criminal investigation discovered.