1. ITV Report

Dutch police arrest seven men over alleged terrorist plot

The suspects were arrested in two Dutch towns. Credit: PA

Police in the Netherlands arrested seven men on Thursday on suspicion of plotting a large-scale terrorist attack.

Authorities foiled the potential attack after a lengthy long investigation, which resulted in armed police apprehending the suspects in the towns of Arnhem and Weert.

An investigation was instigated after intelligence sourced suggested the alleged ring-leader, a 34-year-old of Iraqi heritage, wanted to carry out a attack at a large public event to maximise casualties.

Those in custody allegedly want to use bomb vests and assault rifles in order to maximise the impact of any attack, as well as utilising a car bomb at a separate location, although investigators are yet to confirm where the exact target was.

The suspects are between 21 and 34 years old, three of whom have previously been convicted of attempting to travel overseas to join extremist networks.

As part of their plan the group tried to get hold of AK47 rifles, handguns, bomb vests, grenades and bomb-making materials, and were aiming to carry out training with the weapons.

The investigation was speeded up this month as there were fears that the suspects were at an advanced stage in their preparations.

Ferd Grapperhaus, the Minister for Justice and Security, told Dutch national broadcaster NOS that the authorities swooped in time to prevent an attack.

"In a sense it is serious, but luckily it's also good news - a terrorist cell that was plotting an attack has been taken down," Grapperhaus said. "They weren't so far that it was a danger to society, in the sense that it was nearly too late. But they were quite far in their preparations."

The suspects are set to face a judge on Friday.