On Sunday, Bilal B. (22), a Moroccan from the Amsterdam neighborhood of Slotervaart, walked into the local police station and managed to stab two officers before he was shot and killed.
It was originally said that he had ties with the Hofstad Group, but it now turns out that he was far more involved in the Hofstad Group than was originally announced. He was also involved in the plans to attack an El-Al Boeing at Schiphol airport. In 2003 he was visited by Mohammed B., murderer of Theo van Gogh. Bilal and his brother Abdullah appear in AIVD file, and he was also investigated in a big computer theft case.
The CID (intelligence service) received information that his parents were afraid of Bilal and his brother. The police heard that a Moroccan group intended to shoot a Boeing out of the sky at Schiphol, but the suspects escaped prosecution.
In 2005 a group of Moroccans was arrested for trying to commit attacks. Abdullah belonged to the hard core of the group and on his MP3-player were instructions on how to build bombs. But Abdullah was also set free. Bilal had nothing to do with that case, though the years have shown that family ties among terrorists are very important.
The attack in the police station Sunday came the 2nd anniversary of Abdullah's arrest. The police will be checking whether that is a coincidence.
Bilal's family is considered a successful immigrant story. One of his sisters is a doctor, the other a judge. Bilal himself, though, got into trouble with the police already when he was 13.
According to Bilal's family he had been suffering from mental illness since 2003 and did not even realize he was sick. After several escalations he was ordered by the court in 2007 to forced treatment in a psychiatric institution, where it was determined that he was suffering from schizophrenia.
He was confined to an isolation ward but ran away several times. With the police's help he was found every time and brought back to the clinic. After several months he was discharged from the clinic, to his family's discontent, as he did not give the impression that he was ready to get back into society. in the past six weeks the family had contacted the clinic three times trying to adjust his anti-pyschotic medication.
On Thursday, October 11, he made contact with the clinic and tried to check himself in to the isolation ward since he didn't feel responsible for himself, had compulsory thoughts and heard voices in his head.
After the shooting the municipality has been trying to restore the peace and invited residents to the neighborhood municipality offices for free food and drinks to "evaluate" the drama. Ahmed Marcouch, mayor of the Slotervaart neighborhood, called for calm and asked residents to behave themselves. "The impact on the neighborhood is gigantic. There are also many emotional reactions," said a spokesperson.
Youth workers, neighborhood activists and imams will speak with the shocked residents about what happened. The local mosque also head meetings the whole day (ie, Sunday).
This is the second lethal incident in the neighborhood, after a 16 year old Moroccan was stabbed to death in school by a 14 year old Turkish classmate.
On Sunday a camera team of the Nova program were chased away by Moroccan youth. The camera man was given to understand that "his nose would be hit into his face" if he "didn't take off immediately". Marcouch condemned the youths' behavior and said that they should "keep their paws off the cameras".
A group of 20-30 youth attacked the police station Monday night. They set fire to cars and damaged them. Stones were thrown at the police station and several windows were broken. No arrests were made. Marcouch was upset that parents did not keep their children at home and let them out on the streets Monday night.
Sources: Telegraaf 1, 2, 3 (Dutch), Elsevier (Dutch), AD.nl (Dutch), RTL (Dutch)
See also: Terrorism update, Plot in Holland - Shoot Down El-Al Plane
A video of the police station attack is available here.
Klein Verzet and Snouck are also blogging about this story.