Netherlands more at risk of terrorism linked to jihadists, right-wing extremists

AMSTERDAM - The terrorism threat level in the Netherlands remained at the "substantial" level for the second straight assessment, but the risk of an attack has slightly increased, Dutch counterterrorism office NCTV said in its semi-annual update on Wednesday. The level ranks fourth most severe on a five-point scale, and indicating a real possibility of a terrorist attack. The national threat assessment report, DTN, highlights the growing concern surrounding right-wing extremism and the continued threat from jihadists fueled by recent events. 

"The sometimes very young people who are active within the right-wing terrorist online environment continue to pose a threat of violence," the report stated. These right-wing extremists may be driven by a "lust for violence and the urge to shock." This makes them "more unpredictable and difficult to detect" due to the fragmented and rapidly evolving nature of online groups, and the ability to rapidly create and change between profiles. 

The main aim of the right-wing extremist groups is for their ideas and values to become normalized. There also appears to be more cooperation between various groups within the Netherlands and abroad. 

Unlike right-wing extremists, jihadists may be motivated by ideology. The report cites the war in Gaza and incidents where a Quran was desecrated as factors contributing to jihadist propaganda that has inspired violence in the past. Jihadist networks, both within Europe and with connections to groups like ISIS, remain the primary source of concern. Authorities are particularly worried about young people who are radicalized online, outside established networks. 

The report also expresses concern about the potential for violence within the Dutch anti-institutional movement. While a large part of this movement focuses on spreading distrust of the government and promoting right-wing ideas, a smaller faction advocates violence against the perceived "evil elite." 

The assessment acknowledges a rise in confrontations between law enforcement and self-declared "sovereign" individuals who reject the legitimacy of government authority. While most of these people do not endorse violence, some have been found stockpiling weapons, raising concerns about a possible escalation. 

Left-wing extremism, though currently considered a lower threat, is also being monitored. The report notes an increase in aggressive actions, such as doxxing, within this group. 

The DTN is utilized by intelligence offices, police and municipalities so they can better allocate resources and implement appropriate measures to address these diverse threats. While the report emphasizes the substantial threat level, it does not specify any imminent dangers or prompt changes in national security protocols. "The threat level is also a way to make society extra aware of and provide information about the threat," the report states.