Police confirm terrorism as Dutch stabbing motive

The Associated Press

AMSTERDAM — A 19-year-old Afghan citizen had a “terrorist motive” for allegedly stabbing two Americans at the main train station in Amsterdam, city authorities in the Dutch capital said Saturday.

Amsterdam police shot and wounded the suspect after the stabbings Friday at Central Station. The local government said hours later it appeared the people injured weren’t targeted for a specific reason, but added that investigators had not ruled out terror as an aim or any other possibilities.

After the U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands identified the victims as Ameri­can tourists Saturday, Amsterdam City Hall gave an update.

“Based on the suspect’s first statements, he had a terrorist motive,” the city administration said in a statement that did not elaborate on what the statements were or how they showed intent.

The wounded Americans were recovering in a hospital from what police termed serious but not life-threatening injuries. Their identities have not been released. The suspect, who was identified only as Jawed S. in line with privacy rules in the Netherlands, also re­mained hospitalized.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte confirmed on Twitter that the investigation focused Saturday on exploring the extremist ideas that allegedly inspired the train station attack.

The Netherlands’ counter-terror chief, Dick Schoof, tweeted that the country’s threat level would remain at number four on a scale that tops out at five.

“Sadly, this reprehensible act fits into the current threat assessment,” he said.

The suspect had a residency permit from Germany. German authorities searched his home and seized data storage devices that would be analyzed as part of the investigation, the city government statement said.

He was scheduled to be arraigned during a closed-door hearing with an investigating judge on Monday. Dutch officials did not disclose the charges he could face.

A statement issued late Friday by Amsterdam’s city council said the Americans did not appear to have been victims of a targeted attack.