A bus with Spanish licence plates and containing gas bottles was found near a concert hall in Rotterdam, where a rock concert was cancelled earlier Wednesday due to a threat, the Dutch port city’s mayor said.
Ahmed Aboutaleb told a news conference it wasn’t clear whether the threat and the bus were connected, but he said the bus’s driver was taken into police custody for questioning.
“The ring that the police set up around the [concert hall] led to the detention of a bus with gas bottles,” Aboutaleb said.
“Whether the bus with gas bottles can be linked to the threat, that cannot now be established,” he said, warning against “swift conclusions.”
A bomb squad was examining the bus.
Police said the concert by Californian rock band Allah-Las was cancelled around 7 p.m. local time, shortly before doors were to open, after a tip from Spanish police.
“Police took this information seriously enough that after discussion with organizers, it was decided to cancel the event,” a statement from Rotterdam police said.
As concertgoers were sent away from the Maassilo, a former grain silo complex on the Maas River that has been converted into an event space, the venue was cordoned off.
Concert organizer Rotown said on Twitter that concertgoers would get their money back.
Dutch television showed officers in body armour outside Maassilo and what appeared to be members of the band leaving the venue in a white van with a police escort. The band did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.
Allah-Las is a four-piece band from Los Angeles.
In an email to The Associated Press, the band’s label, Mexican Summer, said: “Due to a potential terror threat at The Maassilo in Rotterdam, the Allah-Las show was cancelled tonight.
It added: “Details are not available at this time as the incident is still under investigation. The band is unharmed and are very grateful to the Rotterdam Police and other responsible agencies for detecting the potential threat before anyone was hurt.”
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 realize 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.”
The country’s National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism said the threat level in the Netherlands was unchanged at “substantial,” where it has been for several years.
‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ – Jeremiah 29:11