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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Afghan teen to appear in court for Amsterdam station attack


A 19-year-old Afghan man who was shot and wounded by Dutch police after allegedly attacking bystanders at Amsterdam’s Central Station will briefly appear in court on Monday, police said. The suspect, identified by authorities as “Jawed S.”, “will appear before a judge and until then no further details will be released,” the Amsterdam police said in a statement on Sunday.

Two American citizens both believed to be male were seriously injured when a knife-wielding man attacked bystanders around noon on Friday at the busy station next to the Dutch capital’s historic city center. Police quickly reacted and shot the man in the lower body. He and the two injured bystanders were taken to a hospital.

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

The US State Department on Sunday condemned what it called an “unprovoked, horrifying attack” and offered full support to Dutch authorities both in their investigation and “in our common fight against terrorism in all forms”. Both of the wounded Americans were in a satisfactory condition, officials said Saturday.  There was no update on the victims’ condition, which police Saturday described as “satisfactory”.

“Following an initial statement by the suspect it has emerged that the man had a terrorist motive,” Amsterdam City Hall announced after police questioned the suspect. Jawed S. has a German residency permit and German police on Saturday raided his apartment. The police did not release details about its exact location.

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The suspect will make a brief first appearance behind closed doors and according to Dutch criminal legal procedures will not be asked to plead. “It is likely that the judge will remand him in custody for two more weeks, in order for detectives to continue their investigation,” a Dutch prosecution service official told AFP. This process could take up to three months, the official added. Thousands of commuters and tourists were evacuated from the rail terminus after the attack.

One witness said he saw a young man “stumble” into his flower shop at the station with a bleeding wound to his hand, before hearing shots ring out. The Netherlands has so far been largely spared the terror attacks which have rocked its closest European neighbours in the past few years.

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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. Around 250,000 people travel through Central Station every day.