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Man threatening to blow himself up holds people hostage in Netherlands cafe as 150 homes are evacuated and town centre closed down

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Police have surrounded a popular café in the Netherlands where a man has taken hostages and threatened to blow himself up.

The man entered the Café Petticoat in Ede early this morning, forcing the evacuation of some 150 homes in the area, according to local media.

‘A hostage situation involving several people is underway in a building in the centre’ of the town of Ede, police said in a statement on X, formerly Twitter.

Video shared on social media showed a bomb disposal robot moving steadily down the street as police with automatic weapons and riot gear patrolled nearby.

Police said that three people had been released from the venue around 11:30am local time (10:30GMT).

Local media reported shortly before that three young people had been seen leaving the building crying. They included a young boy, Algemeen Dagblad reported.

It is not known how many people are being held but local media have reported around four or five people are involved.

Police said they had cleared a cordon around a cafe, with residents of around 150 houses being brought to safety.

They added there was currently no reason to suspect a ‘terrorist motive’ for the incident. 

Police and emergency services are deployed in the center of Ede, the Netherlands, 30 March

Police and emergency services are deployed in the center of Ede, the Netherlands, 30 March

A spokesman for the municipality confirmed that a hostage situation is underway in the center of Ede without specifying where and how many people are involved

A spokesman for the municipality confirmed that a hostage situation is underway in the center of Ede without specifying where and how many people are involved

Police and emergency services gather as several people have been taken hostage in Ede, on March 30, 2024

Police and emergency services gather as several people have been taken hostage in Ede, on March 30, 2024

The local municipality said on its website that the town centre had been closed off and that riot police and explosives experts were at the scene.

A ‘Bearcat’ heavily armoured car was also filmed arriving on the scene, used only in exceptional circumstances by the Special Interventions Service (DSI).

All shops were closed and civilians urged not to approach.

‘Several people walked from the pub where the hostage situation took place… It is not clear whether these are the hostages.’  

Insiders on social media said the hostage taker, whose identity has not been reported, entered with knives.

A local student, Lotte, said she saw snipers on the roof before the fire brigade escorted her away from the scene.

‘They said, put on a coat, but I put on something more.

‘I just hope it turns out well for everyone.’ 

‘We see there are many questions about the motive. At this time there is no indication of a terrorist motive,’ police said.

The Netherlands has seen a series of terror attacks and plots but not on the scale of other European countries, such as France or Britain.

In 2019, the country was stunned by a shooting spree on a tram in the city of Utrecht that claimed four lives.

A Turkish-born man identified as Gokmen Tanis later admitted a terror motive for the rampage that virtually shut down the country’s fourth biggest city.

Also in 2019, Dutch police charged two suspected jihadists with planning a terror attack using suicide bombs and car bombs. Authorities said an attack was planned that year.

A young Afghan man identified only as ‘Jawed S.’ stabbed two American tourists at Amsterdam Central Station in 2018, later telling judges he wanted ‘to protect the Prophet Mohammed.’

According to the police, 150 homes in the city center have been evacuated and the public has been asked to stay away from the area

According to the police, 150 homes in the city center have been evacuated and the public has been asked to stay away from the area

Heavily armed police have cordoned off part of a Dutch town and say that multiple people are being held hostage in a building there

Heavily armed police have cordoned off part of a Dutch town and say that multiple people are being held hostage in a building there

The assault came a day after far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders announced he was cancelling a plan to stage a cartoon competition to caricature the Prophet Mohammed.

At the time Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid urged Muslims to attack Dutch troops after Wilders’ ‘hostile act by this country (the Netherlands) against all Muslims.’

In the most serious incident involving a terror attack, outspoken Dutch anti-Islam film director Theo van Gogh was shot and stabbed to death in 2004 in Amsterdam by a man with ties to a Dutch Islamist terror network.



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