Conversations intercepted by domestic intelligence service AIVD led to the arrests of nine men in Eindhoven on allegations that they planned to carry out a terrorist attack. The men, all Dutch citizens, discussed the possibility of targeting Prime Minister Mark Rutte, PVV leader Geert Wilders, FvD leader Thierry Baudet, and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge, according to an investigative report by RTL Nieuws.
The men were watching a Denzel Washington film, and had the discussion late at night on September 18, and into the early hours of the following morning, sources told the broadcaster.
Someone in the group reportedly said, "I will pop Rutte and Wilders in their heads, brother. And then my name will go into the history books, right?"
One person also suggested kidnapping Wilders, and live-streaming his murder. "Get Geert Wilders to say something. And then I'll behead him, live, on Facebook."
"Bro man, you just use an AK and pop him with his guards at a press conference, you know? You just yell, 'Allahu Akbar', ... Just six bullets," one suspect allegedly said. "Once you're shooting, you don't stop. You don't stop and aim."
A suspect also pointed out that Health Minister Hugo de Jonge "and the like have no security."
They were arrested three days later. They suspects in age from 18 to 31. One was born in Afghanistan, while the other eight were born in the Netherlands, the Public Prosecution Service (OM) previously disclosed. The OM also said the men support jihadist ideology and sympathize with ISIS.
Lawyers for the suspects said the men were displaying a lewd sense of humor, and stated that the conversations do not demonstrate intent to perpetrate a terrorist attack. When written as text, the statements "seem very serious," said attorney Serge Weening. However, the statements were made comically and with sarcasm, he continued.
"They are young boys together who say things that you should not say in public. But I am convinced that they absolutely did not want to commit an attack." He added that the suspects are well-educated, with high school and university degrees, and they were shocked by the arrest.
"Initially they thought of a joke themselves. But I think there is a very big misunderstanding here," he said.
The AIVD said the men watched a video about constructing bombs, and sang battle hymns in the car, RTL Nieuws reported. They also converted a garage into a small fitness room inspired by people training as jihadists.
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