November 25, 2014 / 5:54 PM / 5 years ago

Dutch detain three men suspected of wanting to join militants in Syria: prosecutors

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch authorities detained three men on charges of plotting attacks and seeking to join a militant group affiliated with al Qaeda, the Nusra Front in Syria, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

European governments and security forces are worried that thousands of Western volunteers who traveled to Syria and Iraq to join militant groups may return carry out attacks at home.

The Nusra Front has fought against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces as well as against rival militants from Islamic State. Its fighters recently came under attack by U.S. air strikes.

The three men, aged 26 to 30, “are suspected of terrorism. They are believed to have been involved in preparing terrorist crimes and wanted to join Jabhat al Nusra,” a statement from the prosecutors said.

One of the suspects recently returned from Syria and had established connections with the group, while another is suspected of providing financial support.

Around 120 Dutch nationals are believed to have joined hardline Islamic militant groups fighting in Syria.

The Dutch arrests followed several months of investigations which were assisted by the national intelligence service, the statement said.

Homes of the suspects were raided on Oct. 30 and computers, phones and passports were seized.

Dutch authorities are conducting about 30 national criminal investigations involving some 60 people suspected of involvement in recruiting fighters for conflicts in the Middle East.

Reporting By Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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