The plan: Shoot down El-Al plane
Dutch TV program Nova reports Samir Azzouz, 19-year-old son of Moroccan immigrants, allegedly plotted to shoot down an El-Al airliner at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. In video transcription on Nova’s website, Azzouz quoted as calling Dutch government ‘crusaders who supported Bush; we will, by Allah, take revenge - we will spill your blood here as you helped steal the riches of Muslims in Israel’
A Dutch terrorism suspect arrested in October allegedly hoped to shoot down an El-Al airliner at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, a television program reported Friday, citing police and secret service documents.
Samir Azzouz, 19, was one of seven suspects arrested in four Dutch cities on Oct. 14 on suspicion of plotting a terrorist attack.
Azzouz, the son of Moroccan immigrants, was acquitted in April of accusations he had planned to attack a Dutch nuclear reactor.
His lawyer, Victor Koppe, has said he is also not guilty of the latest allegations reported by the television program Nova. Prosecution spokesmen could not immediately be contacted Friday to confirm the authenticity of the Nova report.
Nova said it had seen a police dossier of evidence against Azzouz, including reports from intelligence agencies and a video Azzouz allegedly recorded for his family and friends before an attack in which he expected to die.
'You will be held responsible'
The National prosecutor’s office earlier had confirmed the existence of a video testament, and said Azzouz’s group was trying to buy weapons and explosives. On its website, Nova posted what it said was a full transcript of the alleged video testament and other evidence.
The program cited Amsterdam’s municipal intelligence agency as saying in a message sent to police on August 2 that Azzouz and his alleged co-conspirators “Want to shoot an El-Al airplane out of the air.”
The same agency sent another message to police on Aug. 8 saying the group had recruited two employees at a Federal Express office near the airport to help with reconnaissance, Nova said.
In the video transcription on Nova’s website, Azzouz was quoted as calling the Netherlands’ government “Crusaders who supported Bush.” He also threatened “The Dutch people,” Nova said.
“You saw the images from the prisons of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, what they do there. You will be held responsible for this,” he was quoted as saying.
“We will, by Allah, take revenge ... You are considered soldiers because you elected this government ... We will spill your blood here as you helped steal the riches of the Muslims in Israel.”
The possibility of terrorists attempting to shoot down Israeli airlines abroad is of great concern to the security establishment since the 2002 attack in Mombassa, Kenya, during which an al-Qaida terrorist fired two shoulder missiles at an Arkia plane but missed his target.
The incident took place just minutes after a car bomb exploded at the entrance to Mombasa’s Paradise Hotel, leaving 15 people dead, including three Israelis.
At the time Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz proposed to fund the installation of an “electronic shield” against shoulder missiles in some 30 passenger planes owned by Israeli companies.
The program was launched prior to the Mombasa attack, but was put into full gear in its aftermath.