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Dutch Syria fighter arrested planning 'jihad heist'

  • A Free Syrian Army fighter takes cover while firing a SPG-9 recoilless gun towards forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Mork, northern Hama countryside May 18, 2014. Picture taken May 18, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

THE HAGUE: Dutch police have arrested a 21-year-old man who fought in Syria as he was allegedly about to commit an armed robbery "to finance jihad", the public prosecutor said on Wednesday.

The man spent six months in Syria last year "taking part in jihad" fighting President Bashar al-Assad's regime, the prosecutor said in a statement.

As part of an undercover operation upon his return, he told police that he could obtain weapons and acquired a shotgun, a Magnum revolver and a small handgun.

Police arrested him on May 15 as he was allegedly on his way to carry out a robbery at a yacht marina in Scheveningen, a coastal suburb of The Hague.

He has been remanded in custody and faces charges of planning a terrorist attack and illegal firearms possession.

"He wanted to use the spoils from the hold-up to finance international jihad," the prosecutor's office said.

Spokesman Wim de Bruin told AFP that he wanted the money "for the fight in Syria".

More than 100 young Dutch citizens have so far travelled to Syria to fight against Assad's forces in the three-year conflict in which more than 162,000 people have died, according to NGO estimates.

 
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