March 27, 2016 / 6:37 PM / 2 years ago

Dutch anti-terrorism police arrest suspect at France's request

AMSTERDAM(Reuters) - Dutch anti-terrorism police on Sunday arrested a 32-year-old man in Rotterdam on suspicion of preparing an attack on France and also detained three other people, national prosecutors said.

“French authorities on Friday requested the arrest of the French citizen, who had been identified in a terrorism investigation,” prosecutors said in a statement. He was suspected of “involvement in preparing a terrorist attack”.

The arrests were carried out by a specialized anti-terrorism police squad, and the Dutch intelligence agency AIVD and prosecutors also took part in the operation, prosecutors said.

Two of the others detained were described as aged 43 and 47 and “having an Algerian background,” while the third had not yet been identified.

Police were searching two addresses in western Rotterdam associated with the suspect, and people living in nearby buildings had been evacuated as a precautionary measure, the prosecutors said.

The suspect will be extradited to France as quickly as possible, they said.

The arrests came with Europe on heightened alert after Tuesday’s suicide bomb attacks at Brussels Airport and on a rush-hour metro train that killed 31 people, including three attackers, and injured hundreds more. Islamic State has claimed responsibility.

Late on Sunday, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve congratulated intelligence services’ work and the cooperation among European countries that he said helped thwart a potential attack in France.

Cazeneuve said their work helped result in a first arrest outside of Paris on Thursday, then another in Brussels on Saturday and a third in the Netherlands.

“Intelligence services work relentlessly to protect our territory in a context of high threat,” Cazeneuve said in a statement.

Reporting by Toby Sterling and Astrid Wendlandt; Editing by Richard Balmforth and Peter Cooney

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