Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Tipoff from Spain Leads Police to Evacuate Rotterdam Rock Concert - Van with Spanish Plates, Loaded with Gas Canisters, Found Outside

Wednesday's Muslim terrorist incident of the day, in which casualties were avoided, has many elements of farce.

Rotterdam is known by some as one of the "Muslim capitals" of Europe, with a Muslim population of perhaps 25% or more, though some analysts suggest it may top 50% within the next few years.

The city has a Muslim mayor, though he appears to be relatively pro-Western. After the Charlie Hebdo attacks he said on live television that Muslim immigrants who do not appreciate Western freedoms can "pack your bags and f*** off." Confusingly, the mayor's last name is similar (to an English reader) to that of the terrorist driver in the recent Barcelona attacks.

The American Rock band playing the Maassilo venue, tonight, is named "Allah-Las," and, due to its name, has apparently come under criticism from Muslims in the past. (According to band members the name is an affectionate tribute to its music's Eastern influences.)

There seems to be a connection with Muslim terrorists in Spain, although authorities appear to differ on whether there is any link to the Barcelona attacks.

From the Daily Mail:
Spanish tip-off sparks Dutch terror alert: Rotterdam police cancel rock gig and arrest one man as van filled with GAS CANISTERS is found near concert venue
  • Allah-Las were due to perform at Maassilo venue in Rotterdam on Wednesday
  • But gig was canceled after tip-off from Spanish police about a terror attack
  • Officers swooped on the venue and found a van with Spanish licence plates filled with gas canisters sitting outside before arresting the driver
  • It comes six days after terrorists in Spain killed 15 in two vehicle attacks when their plan to build bombs out of gas canisters failed
A rock gig in Rotterdam has been canceled after a tip-off from Spanish police about a potential terror attack. 
Armed officers swooped on the Maassilo concert venue around 7pm and found a van with Spanish licence plates filled with gas canisters outside. 
The driver of the vehicle has been arrested, though Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutalebsaid it isn't yet clear whether the threat and the van were connected. 
It comes just under a week after terrorists in Spain killed 15 in two vehicle attacks after an attempt to create bombs using gas canisters failed. 
Police have since said the incident is not directly connected to the Spain attacks. The venue was cordoned off as a bomb squad was brought in to search the van.

A video from the scene shows several officers inside the back of the vehicle examining objects with flashlights.

It is not clear why the venue was targeted, but California band Allah-Las were due to play that evening. Their name has caused offense to Muslims in the past. 
A venue owner Turkey once called off a gig because he did not feel comfortable with the moniker which uses the Arabic word for God.

In an interview with The Guardian last year, the band said they chose the name simply because they wanted something 'holy sounding' and did not realise it would provoke such a strong reaction.

'We get emails from Muslims, here in the US and around the world, saying they’re offended, but that absolutely wasn’t our intention,' singer Miles Michaud said.

Images from outside the venue show officers surrounding the concert hall which has been taped off, as bemused members of the public leave the scene.

Allah-Las were escorted from the venue after the gig was called off, and guarded by officers on motorbikes as they drove away in van, it is reported.

The band said in a statement: 'In response to the police, we are forced to cancel the concert of Allah-Las tonight in the Maassilo.

'It does not make sense to come to the Maassilo. Sorry for the inconvenience, more information follows.'

The building has a total capacity of around 1,000 people. Allah-Las were supposed to share the bill with Dutch-Turkish group Altin Gün.

Thirteen people were crushed to death and more than 100 injured when terrorist Younes Abouyaquob drove a van down Las Ramblas in Barcelona last Thursday.

Abouyaaquob then stabbed another man to death as he stole his car and fled the scene, while a second attack by five more jihadis killed one woman and wounded another 16 people in the town of Cambrils.

All five Cambrils attackers were shot dead by police at the scene, while Abouyaaquob was shot dead in Subirats on Monday. Four more suspects were arrested and appeared in court on Tuesday.

In court documents, a judge said the dead men launched their attack after a bomb factory filled with gas canisters in the town of Alcanar exploded, killed the alleged plot mastermind and his assistant.

Police video released the same day showed officers searching the homes of the arrested suspects, where more gas canisters were found.

A chilling message posted by a pro-ISIS account later the same day warned of further attacks by terror cells still embedded inside Europe.

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