Posts Tagged ‘netherlands’

US and Poland strike $10.5 billion missile defense deal

November 18, 2017

The US has approved the $10.5 billion sale of a Patriot anti-missile system to NATO ally Poland. Eastern European NATO states have been ramping up their military capabilities in the face of perceived Russian aggression.

Polish President Andrzej Duda welcomes Donald Trump during state visit in July 2017 (Reuters/C. Barria)

In a move likely to irk Russia, the US and Poland agreed on Friday a major arms deal that could see the eastern European NATO member soon begin conducting air and missile defense operations.

As part of the $10.5 billion (€8.9 billion) sale, Poland is expected to receive 208 Patriot Advanced Capabilty-3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement missiles, 16 M903 launching stations, four AN/MPQ-65 radars, four control stations, spares, software and associated equipment.

Read moreNATO in a nutshell: What you need to know

Made by US defense contractor Raytheon, the missiles are reportedly designed to detect, track and engage unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), cruise missiles and short-range or tactical ballistic missiles.

In a statement issued following the sale, the State Department said that: “A secure Europe capable of deterring air and missile threats and other forms of aggression promotes peace and stability within NATO and on the European continent.”

The transaction still requires congressional approval, since any sale of advanced military technology to another country requires special permission. Congress has 15 days to raise any objections to the deal, although this agreement is expected to pass swiftly, given the close military ties between the two countries.

During US President Donald Trump’s visit  to Warsaw in July, the US and Poland signed a memorandum of intent for weapons sales.

Poland is one of a handful of eastern European nations that has increasingly built up their military capacity in the face of potential Russian aggression, following the 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

Read more: Eastern Europe’s defense industry: from boom to bang?

Last year Russia deployed nuclear-capable Iskaner missiles on its Kaliningrad exclave bordering Lithuania and Poland. The move rattled NATO members, and prompted members, including the US and Germany, to begin carrying out military drills in the region.

Poland joins the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Greece as one of the few European countries in possession of a Patriot air-defense system. The US has also recently deployed a Patriot battery in Lithuania as part of the multinational NATO exercises in the Baltic region.

http://www.dw.com/en/us-and-poland-strike-105-billion-missile-defense-deal/a-41433719

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Bipolar Britain — For Israel But Then Against?

November 13, 2017

Editorial

The Jerusalem Post
 NOVEMBER 12, 2017 21:47

We understand that newspapers have to make money and that sensationalism sells.

Benjamin Netanyahu and British Prime Minister Theresa May look at the original Balfour Declaration

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara look at the original Balfour Declaration with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Lord Balfour and Lord Rothschild. (photo credit:KOBI GIDEON/GPO)

It would not be an exaggeration to say that in many respects relations between Israel and Britain have never been better. Last Thursday night, during an event to mark the centennial of the Balfour Declaration, Theresa May spoke approvingly of the Jewish state and of her pride in Britain’s instrumental part in bringing about its founding. She declared anti-Zionism to be the modern-day version of antisemitism.

Many in May’s Conservative-led government are outspoken in their support of Israel, not just Priti Patel, the UK’s former secretary of state for international development.

However, the scandal surrounding Patel, who was forced to resign last week after it came to light that she had met with a number of Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, seems to point to the bipolar nature of Israeli-British ties.

On one hand, the two countries share sensitive intelligence; Britain has purchased hundreds of millions of pounds worth of Israeli weapons systems; and coordination between the militaries of the two countries has reached new heights.

On the other hand, Patel’s innocuous 13-day visit to Israel has been betrayed in the most nefarious way, as if Patel had not been visiting a close ally with mutual interests and shared values, but a country with which Britain was at odds. As noted by Tovah Lazaroff, The Jerusalem Post’s deputy managing editor, “One has to ask, if Patel had secretly met with officials in the Netherlands, would anyone care?”

Patel’s meetings have been portrayed as “secret,” as if some hidden, perhaps dangerous, agenda that Patel felt should be kept under wraps was being pursued. But nothing could be further from the truth. The meetings were fairly wellknown while they were taking place, even though Patel and Lord Stuart Polak – a Jewish Conservative Party politician and pro-Israel lobbyist – did make a mistake by failing to disclose the meetings to the Foreign Office in advance.

Nobody tried to hide the fact that Patel was having the meetings. Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan both even tweeted photographs of themselves with Patel speaking together in public.

The same day that Netanyahu met with Patel, Deputy Minister Michael Oren reportedly notified Britain’s Deputy Ambassador to Israel and Middle East Minister Alistair Burt about the meeting.

What’s more, the meetings became known to the Foreign Office three months ago. If they were such a big source of concern, why was nothing done about them for so long? Why is it that the “scandal” was made public in Britain last Friday, to coincide with Netanyahu’s visit to London for meetings with May and to mark the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration?

Meanwhile, the British press, in a tendentious attempt to sensationalize what was in reality nothing more than a breach of protocol, presented one leg of the trip as though Patel was seeking to transfer hard-earned British taxpayers’ money to the Israeli military.

In reality, however, Patel was looking into the possibility that Britain would help defray some of the costs for maintaining an Israeli field hospital on the Golan Heights that treats wounded Syrian refugees.

Both The Guardian and The Independent – at least initially – reported that the money was going to the IDF, as noted in a piece for The Algemeiner by Simon Plosker, managing editor of HonestReporting.com.

The Times of London claimed, meanwhile, that Patel sought to provide British aid to an Israeli Army program “treating wounded Syrian jihadists, including al-Qaida fighters.”

We understand that newspapers have to make money and that sensationalism sells. We also understand that nearly anything to do with Israel arouses strong emotions in Britain.

But what about journalistic integrity? There is much to appreciate in Britain’s approach to Israel. May is undoubtedly one of the most pro-Israel heads of state in Europe, though she is bogged down with political problems.

But Patel’s treatment is not just the collateral effect of May’s crisis-ridden government. Rather, the Patel scandal is an uncomfortable reminder of the toxic atmosphere of anti-Israel sentiment both in British society and in the Foreign Office. Apparently, it is no coincidence that this reminder was made now, as Israel and Britain celebrate the Balfour Declaration, the Jewish people’s first decisive diplomatic success on the road to statehood.

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Rich and famous in the Paradise Papers

November 7, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Bono from U2 has said he is “distressed” after being caught up in the Paradise Papers leaks

PARIS (AFP) – Apple, Bono and Queen Elizabeth II are just a few of the big names and companies revealed in the Paradise Papers leak to have shifted money across the globe to cut tax.

The spotlight on the tax affairs of the rich and powerful comes after a trove of documents was released by the US-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), detailing secretive offshore deals that, while not illegal, are embarrassing for those concerned.

Here are some of the most well-known names caught up in the controversy:

– Politics –

– Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has, through the Duchy of Lancaster which provides her income and handles her investments, placed around £10 million ($13 million, ?11.3 million) of her private money in funds held in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

The funds were reinvested in an array of businesses, including controversial rent-to-own retailer BrightHouse which has been accused of exploiting the poor.

– US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross holds a 31 percent stake in maritime transport company Navigator Holdings through a complex web of offshore investments.

Navigator Holdings runs a lucrative partnership with Russian energy giant Sibur, linked to President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. Russia is subject to US sanctions.

– In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s top fundraiser and senior advisor Stephen Bronfman, heir to the Seagram fortune, moved some $60 million to an offshore haven in the Cayman Islands.

– Brazil’s economy and agriculture ministers, Henrique Meirelles and Blairo Maggi, are also cited in offshore companies in tax havens.

– Celebrities –

– U2 frontman Bono is shown in the leak to own a stake in a Maltese company that bought in 2007 a Lithuanian shopping mall via a Lithuanian holding company, which may have broken tax rules by using an unlawful accounting technique.

– Britain’s four-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton avoided paying taxes on a private jet, receiving a £3.3 million VAT refund in 2013 after it was imported into the Isle of Man, a low-tax British Crown Dependency.

– Multinationals –

– Technology giant Apple shifted much of its offshore wealth from Ireland to the Jersey tax haven in the British Isles to adapt to the tightening of Irish tax laws in 2015.

– US sportswear giant Nike used a loophole in Dutch fiscal law to reduce, via two companies based in the Netherlands, its tax rate in Europe to just two percent compared to the 25 percent average for European companies.

– The taxi-hailing ap Uber and the manufacturer of Botox, the Allergan pharmaceutical laboratory, allegedly used similar methods to Nike.

– The Paradise Papers also reveal that Russian companies with links to the Kremlin invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Twitter and Facebook.

The Internet giants are under fire, notably in the US Congress, for the use of their platforms to spread Russian rumours during the 2016 US presidential election.

MI5 boss Andrew Parker warns of ‘intense’ terror threat

October 19, 2017

BBC News

MI5 chief Andrew Parker: ‘Over 3,000 extremists in the UK’
Video:
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-41655488

The UK’s intelligence services are facing an “intense” challenge from terrorism, the head of MI5 has warned.

Andrew Parker said there was currently “more terrorist activity coming at us, more quickly” and that it can also be “harder to detect”.

The UK has suffered five terror attacks this year, and he said MI5 staff had been “deeply affected” by them.

He added that more than 130 Britons who travelled to Iraq and Syria to fight with so-called Islamic State had died.

MI5 was running 500 live operations involving 3,000 individuals involved in extremist activity in some way, he said.

Speaking in London, Mr Parker said the tempo of counter-terrorism operations was the highest he had seen in his 34-year career at MI5.

Twenty attacks had been foiled in the last four years, including seven in the last seven months, he said – all related to what he called Islamist extremism.

The five attacks that got through this year included a suicide bomb attack after an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena in May, killing 22.

Five people were also killed in April during an attack near the Houses of Parliament, while eight people were killed when three attackers drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge and launched a knife attack in Borough Market.

A man then drove a van into a crowd of worshippers near a mosque in north London in June, while a homemade bomb partially exploded in tube train at Parsons Green station last month, injuring 30 people.

In some cases, individuals like Khuram Butt – who was behind the London Bridge attack – were well known to MI5 and had been under investigation by the security services.

People leaving flowers in Manchester city centre one week after the Manchester Arena attack
People left flowers in Manchester city centre after the Manchester Arena attack. PA photo

Mr Parker was asked what was the point of MI5 surveillance when someone who had made “no secret of his affiliations with jihadist extremism” had then been allowed to go on to launch a deadly attack.

He said the risk from each individual was assessed on a “daily and weekly basis” and then prioritised “accordingly”.

“One of the main challenges we’ve got is that we only ever have fragments of information, and we have to try to assemble a picture of what might happen, based on those fragments.”

He said the likelihood was that when an attacked happened, it would be carried out by someone “that we know or have known” – otherwise it would mean they had been looking “in completely the wrong place”.

And he said staff at MI5 were deeply affected on a “personal and professional” level when they did happen.

“They are constantly making tough professional judgements based on fragments of intelligence; pinpricks of light against a dark and shifting canvas.”

‘Not the enemy’

Mr Parker said they were trying to “squeeze every drop of learning” from recent incidents.

In the wake of attacks in the UK, there had been some, including some in the Home Office, who questioned whether the counter-terrorist machine – featuring all three intelligence agencies and the police, and with MI5 at its heart – was functioning as effectively as previously thought.

However, there was no indication of a fundamental change in direction in his remarks, with a focus on the scale of the threat making stopping all plots impossible.

“We have to be careful that we do not find ourselves held to some kind of perfect standard of 100%, because that is not achievable,” he said.

“Attacks can sometimes accelerate from inception through planning to action in just a handful of days.

“This pace, together with the way extremists can exploit safe spaces online, can make threats harder to detect and give us a smaller window to intervene.”

Troops from the Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) marching past a ruined building in Raqqa, Syria
Many Britons still fighting in Syria and Iraq may not now return, Andrew Parker said. Reuters photo

He renewed the call for more co-operation from technology companies.

Technology was “not the enemy,” he added, but said companies had a responsibility to deal with the side effects and “dark edges” created by the products they produced.

In particular, he pointed to online purchasing of goods – such as chemicals – as well as the presence of extremist content on social media and encrypted communications.

Assassination risk

He said more than 800 individuals had left the UK for Syria and Iraq.

Some had then returned, often many years ago, and had been subject to risk assessment. Mr Parker revealed at least 130 had been killed in conflict.

Fewer than expected had returned recently, he said, adding that those who were still in Syria and Iraq may not now attempt to come back because they knew they might be arrested.

Mr Parker stressed that international co-operation remained vital and revealed there was a joint operational centre for counter-terrorism based in the Netherlands, where security service officers from a range of countries worked together and shared data.

This had led to 12 arrests in Europe, he added.

In terms of state threats, Mr Parker said the range of clandestine activity conducted by foreign states – including Russia – went from aggressive cyber-attack, through to traditional espionage and the risk of assassination of individuals.

However, he said the UK had strong defences against such activity.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-41655488

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Expect Israel To Feel Threatened By Austria’s New Far Right Leaders

October 17, 2017
BY HERB KEINON
 OCTOBER 17, 2017 05:20

Jerusalem will have to tread carefully as it calculates its reaction to the rise of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party, which holds views that are not supportive of the Jewish state.

Norbert Hofer (L) and Austrian Freedom Party (FPOe) top candidate Heinz-Christian Strache attend the

Norbert Hofer (L) and Austrian Freedom Party (FPOe) top candidate Heinz-Christian Strache attend their party’s final election campaign rally in Vienna, Austria, October 13, 2017. . (photo credit:MICHAEL DALDER/REUTERS)

Israel has not yet reacted to Sunday’s elections in Austria that will likely catapult the far-right Freedom Party into the government, but this outcome poses a clear challenge to Jerusalem: Should it engage with European far-right parties if they become a part of a government? Jerusalem has avoided having to face the issue this year, thanks to the National Front’s loss in the French elections and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s position of not including the AfD in her governing coalition.

Austria’s Freedom Party, however, will bring the issue to the fore.

Under Jorg Haider in 1999, Austria’s Freedom Party – a party formed in 1956 by former members of the Nazi party – became part of the Austrian ruling coalition. Israel responded by recalling its ambassador and downgrading its relations with Vienna for more than three years, until the coalition fell apart.

But that was then.

In 1999 Israel could boycott Austria’s government because there was little chance that by doing so it would lead to a need to boycott other governments joined by right-wing parties – because that prospect seemed remote. But that is no longer the case, as the European far-Right is on the rise.

In other words, it is one thing not to engage or to boycott parties in the opposition; it is quite another if those parties may soon be ruling various countries.

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Israel’s unstated but clear policy up until now has been to break up the European far-right parties into three distinct categories.

The first are the fascist and neo-Nazi parties, such as Jobbik in Hungary, Golden Dawn in Greece, and the NDP in Germany. These are parties with which Israel will not engage, even if they become members of the ruling governments.

The second category includes parties – like Austria’s Freedom Party – that have a Nazi or fascist past, and which currently have antisemitic and racist tendencies. Other parties in this category include the National Front in France, AfD in Germany – which did surprisingly well in that country’s elections last month – and the Swedish Democrats in Sweden.

Up until now, Israel’s formal policy has been to avoid contact with those parties and not to engage with them or their members at a diplomatic level. This means that neither the prime minister nor the foreign minister meet their leaders if they visit Israel, and that Israel’s ambassadors in those countries do not meet with the party heads.

At the same time, Jerusalem cannot do anything about errant ministers, MKs or politicians who do meet with members of these parties from time to time, as was the case when the Freedom Party’s leader Heinz-Christian Strache visited Israel last year.

In the third category are populist parties with some racist elements in them, such as Geert Wilders’s Party for Freedom in the Netherlands, UKIP in Britain and the Vlaams Belang Party in Belgium. These parties, which are different from one another, do not have Nazi or fascist pasts. Israel’s policy toward them is generally not to boycott but, rather, to deal with each party according to the particular situation and each party’s merits.

For instance, Israel does engage with Wilders’s party, and has normal relations with UKIP.

This set of policies has emerged over the years amid a sense in Jerusalem that Israel – as the state of the Jewish people – has a unique standing on these matters, and that its position on these parties is carefully watched by many inside Europe. For example, that Strache has made efforts to distance himself from his party’s past and put forward strong pro-Israel positions has been interpreted in Jerusalem as an effort to get Israel’s “stamp of approval,” something that would help him gain legitimacy elsewhere.

Another element that has guided Israel in its policies toward these parties has been the position of the local Jewish communities, and these Jewish communities have – in all cases of those parties in the second category – come out against Israel engaging with them.

Jerusalem is not expected to comment on the Austrian elections until after a coalition is formed, and even then, it is unlikely to be among the first to comment or formulate a policy.

Rather, it will likely wait to see how countries like Germany, France and Britain respond.

Ironically, the candidate who won Austria’s election, 31-year-old Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, is considered in Jerusalem as pro-Israel. Jerusalem has no problem with him, but, rather, only with his potential coalition partner.

Even so, there are three reasons that Jerusalem is unlikely to boycott the Austrian government, as it did when the Freedom Party was a member from 1999 to 2003.

Firstly, the success of parties like the Freedom Party is a phenomenon increasingly evident throughout the European political system. Secondly, because Strache, as opposed to Haider, has professed pro-Israel positions.

And thirdly, because the party has – at least to a certain degree – tried to moderate itself.

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Transatlantic tussles: EU cases against US firms

October 4, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | The EU says Apple owes Ireland 13 billion euros in back taxes
BRUSSELS (AFP) – The EU’s decision to slap Amazon with a multi-million euro tax bill and take Ireland to court for not complying with a landmark case against Apple are the latest in a string of competition cases against US firms.

Here are the main European Union competition investigations targeting the US that Silicon Valley and Washington have slammed as unfair.

– Google –

In June, the EU hit Google with a record fine of 2.4 billion euros ($2.7 billion) for skewing search results in favour of its own shopping service.

This is only one of three concurrent investigations into the US web giant, which controls about 90 percent of the search market in Europe.

In April 2016, the commission also opened a probe into whether Google gives unfair prominence to its own Android apps such as search, maps and music streaming in deals with mobile manufacturers that include Samsung and Huawei.

Then in July last year, Brussels targeted Google’s advertising business, saying it had restricted some websites from displaying ads from competitors.

In all the cases, Google risks a fine of 10 percent of worldwide global sales for one year.

– Apple –

Brussels came down hard last year on the world’s most valuable company, Apple, ordering it to repay Ireland a record 13 billion euros ($14.3 billion) in back taxes.

The August 2016 ruling found that Apple had benefited from a series of Irish sweetheart tax deals that were illegal.

The US Treasury Department roundly rejected the reasoning of the commission’s decision, and Apple and the government of Ireland both filed appeals.

In the wake of the LuxLeaks tax scandal the EU launched further inquiries into the practice of countries offering extremely low corporation tax rates in an effort to attract multinationals.

– Amazon –

Brussels on Wednesday ordered Amazon to pay 250 million euros in back taxes linked to an “illegal tax break” that Luxembourg granted the internet shopping giant.

The case hinges on the belief that a tax deal between Luxembourg and Amazon in 2003 constituted illegal state aid, giving the company an unfair advantage over competitors.

– Starbucks –

In October 2015 the EU ordered US coffee maker Starbucks to repay the Netherlands 30 million euros in back taxes.

– McDonald’s –

The EU launched a formal investigation in December 2015 into tax deals between US fast food giant McDonald’s and Luxembourg, saying its preliminary assessment was that the arrangements breached state aid rules.

The case against McDonald’s stemmed from a complaint by trade unions and the charity War on Want that accused McDonald’s of avoiding around one billion euros ($1.1 billion) in taxes between 2009 and 2013, by shifting profits from one corporate division to another, and paying no local tax in Luxembourg.

– Microsoft –

In a historic case in March 2013, the European Commission fined US giant Microsoft 561 million euros ($638 million) for failing to comply with an order to provide clients with a choice of internet browsers for Windows 7, as it had promised to do.

It also fined the company 899 million euros in 2008, subsequently reduced to 860 million euros, for failing to comply with an order to share product information with rivals so that their software could work with Windows.

– Facebook-

The EU in May fined US social media giant Facebook 110 million euros ($120 million) for providing incorrect and misleading information on its takeover of WhatsApp, imposing its biggest penalty for such a breach.

The admonishment came after EU regulators cleared the then $19 billion Facebook acquisition of WhatsApp in late 2014, a decision that faced criticism in Europe.

– Intel –

Intel, the world’s biggest chipmaker, was fined a record 1.06 billion euros in May 2009. The EU says it abused its stranglehold on the semiconductor market to crush its main rival, AMD.

Thousands in Germany Protest Over Planned Steel Merger — “The future of steel in Germany” is at stake

September 22, 2017

BERLIN — Thousands of steelworkers have gathered in western Germany in a protest over the planned merger of the European steel operations of Thyssenkrupp and Tata Steel, which is expected to cost up to 4,000 jobs.

News agency dpa reported that nearly 7,000 people took part in Friday’s protest in Bochum, and steel production was largely halted ahead of the demonstration. Germany’s top labor union leader, Reiner Hoffmann, accused Thyssenkrupp’s management of failing to take account of employees’ interests, while German Labor Minister Andrea Nahles said “the future of steel in Germany” is at stake.

Germany’s Thyssenkrupp and India’s Tata on Wednesday signed a preliminary deal to create a joint venture headquartered in the Netherlands. The move to create Europe’s second-largest steel company is an effort to consolidate the struggling industry.

Dutch Police Make Second Arrest After Rotterdam Threat, Broadcaster NOS Says

August 24, 2017

AMSTERDAM — Dutch police have arrested a second suspect in relation to a threat in Rotterdam where a rock concert was canceled after a tip from Spanish authorities, NOS said on Thursday.

The arrest was made earlier Thursday in the south of the Netherlands, NOS said.

A van with Spanish license plates was stopped on Wednesday by the police in Rotterdam, near the Maassilo music venue. The vehicle was found to be carrying gas canisters. Credit Arie Kievit/European Pressphoto Agency

Police were still questioning a Spaniard detained in Rotterdam who was driving a van containing gas canisters.

(Reporting by Bart Meijer, editing by Larry King)

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Dutch police question Spaniard after concert canceled — “Gas canisters in his vehicle were apparently for domestic use.”

August 24, 2017

Reuters

AMSTERDAM/MADRID (Reuters) – Dutch police on Thursday questioned a Spanish man detained with gas canisters in a van while driving near a concert venue where a rock concert was canceled due to a threat of an attack.

The man was being held in Rotterdam, where he was stopped in the white vehicle with Spanish license plates on Wednesday, police said.

Spanish police had tipped the Dutch to potential danger at the venue known as Maassilo where California band Allah-Las was set to play, but a judicial source in Spain told Reuters there was no link to the attacks in Spain last week.

“The investigation is ongoing and we are questioning the man,” police spokesman Gijs van Nimwegen said. “We are working to determine his identity.”

The van contained “a couple” of gas canisters and the man’s driving had been “conspicuous” he said, declining to comment on Spanish police reports he had been drinking alcohol.

People gather at the scene where police are investigating a van (not pictured) with Spanish licence plates containing gas bottles that was found near a concert hall in Rotterdam, in this handout picture obtained by Reuters August 23, 2017. Social Media/Handout via REUTERS

The Spanish source said late Wednesday that the tip resulted from an investigation by the Spanish Civil Guard that had been under way for some time and had no direct relation to the two vehicle attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils in Catalonia that killed 15 people.

Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb told a news conference late Wednesday it was also not clear whether the threat tip and the detection of the van were connected. He warned against “swift conclusions” while noting the white van had Spanish license plates and had been flagged for circling near the concert venue.

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“It would be wrong at this moment to pile up these facts and conclude … there was a plan to attack with gas bottles,” Aboutaleb said.

Spanish news agency Europa Press, quoting Spanish anti-terrorist force sources, reported that the Spaniard arrested in Rotterdam had, in principle, no link to jihadist terrorism. The gas canisters in his vehicle were apparently for domestic use, it said.

Police said the concert was canceled at around 7 p.m., shortly before doors were to be opened for guests. No one was hurt and only one suspect was in custody, Dutch police said.

The National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism’s office said the threat level in the Netherlands was unchanged at “substantial”, where it has been since 2013.

Reporting by Toby Sterling and Julien Toyer; Editing by Nick Macfie.; Additional reporting by Bart Meijer, Adrian Croft and Jesus Aguado

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Dutch Police Probe Continues Into Concert Threat at Rotterdam

August 24, 2017

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands — Dutch police were continuing investigations Thursday into a threat to a concert venue that prompted the cancellation of a show by an American rock band, as well as into the driver of a Spain-registered van found to contain gas canisters just a few hundred meters (yards) from the venue.

Spokesman Gijs van Nimwegen said police would issue an update on the investigation early Thursday.

The concert by Los Angeles band Allah-Las in the port city of Rotterdam was called off Wednesday night after Spanish authorities tipped Dutch police about a possible threat to the concert. Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said the warning came from Spanish police.

Two hours later police detained the driver of the van for questioning.

Aboutaleb said late Wednesday it was too early to know if the Spanish van was linked to the terror threat to the concert.

A Spanish counterterrorism official said the van is not connected to the vehicle attacks that killed 15 people in Spain last week.

The 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.

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