Authorities detained seven suspects in an anti-terrorism operation Friday in three Dutch cities, officials said.
The chief suspect in the raids was Samir Azzouz, a 19-year-old Dutch national of Moroccan descent who was acquitted of terrorism charges earlier this year.
As part of a security operation, about two dozen officers in riot gear closed entrances leading to both houses of parliament and the government’s information service in The Hague. The weekly Cabinet meeting, however, went ahead as scheduled.
Azzouz was in the process of purchasing automatic weapons and explosives “probably to carry out an attack with others on several politicians and a government building,” a prosecution statement said.
On Thursday, media reported renewed threats against members of parliament Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders, both outspoken critics of Islamic extremism. The two went into hiding for several months after a Muslim extremist killed Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh on an Amsterdam street last year.
The suspects, ranging from 18- to 30-years-old, were detained in The Hague, Amsterdam and Almere. They will be brought before an investigating judge Monday.
Police declined to confirm media reports of gunfire in The Hague’s largely immigrant Schilderswijk neighborhood, where a hand grenade exploded during the arrest of two terrorist suspects last year following van Gogh’s murder.