x

Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

Spanish driver arrested after van filled with gas cannisters found near Dutch concert venue

Concert by US rock band the Allah-Las cancelled after Spanish police sounded the alert following deadly van attack in Barcelona

Police examine a van packed with gas canisters found close to where US band the Allah-Las were due to perform. EPA/ARIE KIEVIT
Police examine a van packed with gas canisters found close to where US band the Allah-Las were due to perform. EPA/ARIE KIEVIT

Dutch police have arrested the driver of a van carrying gas bottles during a major security operation following the cancellation of a concert by US rock band Allah-Las in the port city of Rotterdam, the city’s mayor said.

The concert was cancelled after police set up a security ring around the venue following a tip from the Spanish authorities.

"The ring that the police set up around the (concert hall) led to the detention of a bus with gas bottles,” said Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb. "It still has to be established that there was a link between the van and the threat. We can't say that yet."

The driver, a Spaniard, was being questioned by police as military explosives experts examined the van found close to the venue.

Police in Spain have been investigating the deadly vehicle attacks last week that killed 15 people in and near Barcelona. They later found bomb-making equipment that included more than 100 tanks of butane gas and nails.

A judicial source in Spain told Reuters there was no link to the attacks in Spain, and the tip came from an investigation that had no direct relation to the two vehicle attacks in Barcelona and the resort of Cambrils that killed 15 people.

The show was cancelled just before the doors opened to fans. Dutch television showed what appeared to be members of the four-piece band from Los Angeles leaving the venue in a white van with a police escort.

In an interview with British newspaper The Guardian last year, band members said they chose the word Allah, Arabic for God, because they were seeking a "holy sounding" name and did not realise it might cause offence.

"We get emails from Muslims, here in the U.S. and around the world, saying they're offended, but that absolutely wasn't our intention," lead singer Miles Michaud told the newspaper. "We email back and explain why we chose the name, and mainly they understand."

RELATED ARTICLES
Recommended