Police in the Dutch capital, Amsterdam, are reportedly on alert for a possible terrorist attack this New Year’s Eve involving a bicycle – standard or cargo – packed with explosives.
According to a report from the newspaper Het Parool cited on Nltimes.nl, fears over a bicycle bomb being deployed in busy areas of the city as locals and visitors see in 2016 were raised in a memo circulated within Amsterdam’s police force.
The document acknowledged that although there is “no concrete evidence of a planned attack ... “signals continue pointing to threat, especially between Christmas and New Year.” Officers have been requested to “report suspicious behaviour and conspicuous objects directly.”
Police forces throughout Europe have been on heightened alert regarding threats of terrorism since the mid-November attacks in Paris that left more than 130 people dead.
Last weekend, Newsweek reported that police in Vienna, Austria, had confirmed that a number of European cities had been warned of a possible terrorist attack over the festive season, possibly using a bicycle frame.
In a statement, police in the Austrian capital said: "In the days before Christmas a warning was sent out by a friendly [intelligence] service to numerous European capitals, saying that it could come to an attack involving explosives or a shooting between Christmas and the New Year in crowded spaces.
The warning added that surveillance should be stepped up in busy places, "especially at events and traffic hubs" and that there should be more identity checks and awareness of objects that could be used to conceal explosives, for example bags or “bicycle frames.”
Amsterdam police said only that its information had come from the intelligence services and it was unable to go into any further detail, while the city’s mayor’s office said, “We never make statements about any threat or eventual measures,” adding, “We are of course alert around the holidays.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.