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Dutch prosecutors release five suspected Somali terrorists

Prosecutors have released five Somali men suspected of planning terror attacks in the Netherlands. The seven remaining suspects are still in custody.

The port of Rotterdam

Rotterdam is one of Europe's busiest ports

Five of the 12 Somali men arrested on suspicion of preparing a terrorist attack in the Netherlands have been released, Dutch prosecutors said on Sunday.

The 12 men were arrested in the port of Rotterdam late on Friday following a tip from intelligence services that said an attack may have been imminent. There was no information on the target or timeline of the alleged attack.

Prosecutors said the men were no longer considered suspects, adding that two of the men were in possession of valid Dutch residency permits.

"The police investigation did not show that they participated in punishable crimes," prosecutors said.

The seven other suspects, aged between 19 and 48, were to remain in detention until at least Monday, when prosecutors were to decide whether to request an extension of their detentions.

Men have 'nothing to do with terrorism'

Earlier on Sunday, relatives of the 12 detainees protested their innocence.

The men had "nothing to do with terrorism," the brother of one of the men told the daily De Telegraaf.

"We're normal, hardworking people. It must be a big misunderstanding," the man told reporters in Rotterdam.

During Friday's raids, police searched an Internet cafe, four apartments and two hotel rooms, confiscating 11 computers. The raids failed to turn up any explosives or weapons.

Author: Martin Kuebler (AFP, AP, dpa)
Editor: Chuck Penfold

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