Who is Hardi N, the alleged ringleader of the planned ‘major’ terror attack?


Dutch police have arrested seven men accused of planning a major terror attack with suicide vests, assault rifles and car bombs – led by an Iraqi arrested last year for trying to join ISIS in Syria.

The suspects were detained after flash raids by heavily armed police in Arnhem, about 62 miles south of Amsterdam, and Weert in the southern Netherlands, close to the borders of Germany and Belgium.

The alleged leader, named by Dutch media as Hardi N, was a 34-year-old Iraqi who was convicted last year for trying to join ISIS along with two other men. He wanted to attack a ‘major event and make many victims’, according to prosecutors.

Heavily armed Dutch police have arrested seven men accused of planning a major terror attack following raids in Arnhem (pictured) and Weert

Heavily armed Dutch police have arrested seven men accused of planning a major terror attack following raids in Arnhem (pictured) and Weert

In Arnhem, where Hardi N lived under a residency permit, police backed up by surveillance helicopters forced open a door to a house and threw smoke bombs inside. Explosions were heard, but it is not clear where these came from.

Two of the other suspects, who ranged in age from 21 to 34 and were found with five guns, had also been convicted of trying to join ISIS.

They were also trying to obtain AK47 assault rifles, handguns, bomb vests, grenades and raw materials for bombs and were looking for opportunities to train with the weapons, according to prosecutors.

In Weert, police also found a white hire van similar to those used in previous vehicle attacks, including London Bridge.

Officials said that the investigation sped up this month because of the suspects’ ‘advanced preparations’. The Dutch marathons are taking place next month, but it is unclear if these were a target.

The suspects are to be brought before an investigating judge on Friday at a behind-closed-doors hearing.

A mock-up of Hardi N has been released, showing a man in his thirties with brown hair and a brown beard. He belonged to a group of Arnhem jihadists, some of whom went to Syria in 2013, according to De Telegraaf.

Those who stayed in the Netherlands transferred money to the members who successfully made the crossing to the worn-torn region.

One of the jihadis who travelled to Syria is the Arnhem rapper Marouane B and another from the city called Abdelkarim el A. The rapper is thought to have been killed by Bashar Assad’s in December last year.

He sent a video via Facebook from the battlefield in which he called for a ‘firm deed against the Dutch government’ because the Netherlands supported America in the fight against IS.

There was controversy about the case of Hardi N because was free in 2014 while awaiting his appeal and walked the streets with just an electronic tag. The move was condemned by far-right politician Geert Wilders.

Hardi N told his judges that he was going to help orphans in Syria that were in the hands of Jabhat al-Nusra, but judges did not believe his excuse.

This was partly because of evidence showing the men sending messages on WhatsApp saying, ‘then I see you on the battlefield’.

They also made a ‘shopping list’ for the trip including – ‘Create Facebook, Create a Skype, Have WhatsApp, renew your passport/ID card, apply for a job as stolen/lost, unsubscribe from the municipality, and put a stop to the sickness insurance fund, take diarrhoea pills, a sturdy winter coat, boots, pants, smartphone, ibuprofen, paracetamol, Nivea cream, thermo clothing, lots of money’.

In Arnhem, (pictured) police backed up by surveillance helicopters forced open a door to a house and threw smoke bombs inside

In Arnhem, (pictured) police backed up by surveillance helicopters forced open a door to a house and threw smoke bombs inside

Police carry items out of an apartment belonging to one of the alleged jihadists in Vlaardingen, South Holland

Police carry items out of an apartment belonging to one of the alleged jihadists in Vlaardingen, South Holland

Officers searched properties belonging to the terror suspects shortly after the raids in Arnhem and Weert. Police are pictured here in Vlaardingen

Officers searched properties belonging to the terror suspects shortly after the raids in Arnhem and Weert. Police are pictured here in Vlaardingen

Who is Hardi N, the alleged ringleader of the planned ‘major’ terror attack?

Hardi N as he is being named in the Dutch media, was said to have belonged to a group of Arnhem jihadists, some of whom went to Syria in 2013.

Those who stayed in the Netherlands transferred money to the members who successfully made the crossing to the worn-torn region.

One of the jihadis who travelled to Syria is the Arnhem rapper Marouane B and another from the city called Abdelkarim el A.

The rapper is thought to have been killed by Bashar Assad’s in December last year.

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He sent a video via Facebook from the battlefield in which he called for a ‘firm deed against the Dutch government’ because the Netherlands supported America in the fight against IS.

According to police, ‘the group would like to commit an attack on a major event in the Netherlands and want to make many victims’.

In Arnhem and Weert, seven men were arrested today in a coordinated strike by the police in which three men from Arnhem, a man from Huissen, two men from Rotterdam and a man from Vlaardingen were taken into custody.

There was controversy about the case of Hardi N because was free in 2014 while awaiting his appeal and walked the streets with just an electronic tag.

He told his judges that he was going to help orphans in Syria that were in the hands of Jabhat al-Nusra but judges did not believe his excuse.

This was partly because of evidence showing the men sending messages on WhatsApp saying, ‘then I see you on the battlefield’.

They also made a ‘shopping list’ for the trip including – ‘Create Facebook, Create a Skype, Have WhatsApp, renew your passport/ID card, apply for a job as stolen/lost, unsubscribe from the municipality, and put a stop to the sickness insurance fund, take diarrhoea pills, a sturdy winter coat, boots, pants, smartphone, ibuprofen, paracetamol, Nivea cream, thermo clothing, lots of money’.

The seven suspects are being held in isolation from each other and can only be contacted through their lawyers.

Three of them were from Arnhem, two from Rotterdam, one from Huissen and another from Vlaardingen,Weertdegekste reported.

‘One of the men from Arnhem wanted to commit an attack with a group at a major event in the Netherlands and kill many victims, according to the Dutch Intelligence Service (AIVD),’ the prosecutor’s office said. 

The Dutch anti-terror coordinator’s office said in a tweet that the alleged plot corresponded to the current threat profile for the Netherlands, which is at four on a scale that tops out at five.

‘Jihad networks are also active in the Netherlands with the intention to plot attacks in Europe,’ the office said. ‘Today’s arrests must be seen in that light.’

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Minister for Justice and Security Ferd Grapperhaus told national broadcaster NOS that police acted 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.’ 

An officer wearing blue evidence gloves enters a block of flats where one of the suspects lived in Vlaardingen

An officer wearing blue evidence gloves enters a block of flats where one of the suspects lived in Vlaardingen

A policeman carries bags and boxes of evidence during the search of the apartment in Vlaardingen

A policeman carries bags and boxes of evidence during the search of the apartment in Vlaardingen

The terrorism threat level for the Netherlands has not been raised following the raid. Pictured: Police outside the flats in Vlaardingen

The terrorism threat level for the Netherlands has not been raised following the raid. Pictured: Police outside the flats in Vlaardingen

The Netherlands has so far been spared from the slew of terror attacks which have rocked its closest European neighbours in the past few years.

But amid a number of scares and reports that people linked to some of those attacks may have crossed briefly into the country, top Dutch security and intelligence officials have stressed that the threat level is substantial.

In August, a 19-year-old knifeman stabbed and wounded two American tourists at Amsterdam Central Station. Police later said they believe the man, an Afghan with a German residency permit, had a ‘terrorist motive’ for the attack. 

Witnesses described scenes of panic on Friday as gunshots rang out and thousands of commuters and tourists were evacuated from the rail terminus shortly after midday.

The attack came a day after an announcement by Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders that he was cancelling moves to stage a cartoon competition to caricature the Prophet Mohammad, a plan that had angered many Muslims.

Both victims recovered from their wounds in hospital.  

Officers look inside an apartment belonging to one of the arrested terror suspects in Rotterdam

Officers look inside an apartment belonging to one of the arrested terror suspects in Rotterdam

Police comb through the apartment of the Rotterdam suspect, as they continue to piece together evidence to convict the men of terror charges

Police comb through the apartment of the Rotterdam suspect, as they continue to piece together evidence to convict the men of terror charges

Three of the men were from Arnhem, where police are pictured after having secured the scene of the afternoon raid

Three of the men were from Arnhem, where police are pictured after having secured the scene of the afternoon raid



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