Dutch TV intruder with fake gun had 'no terror links'

Media caption,
The 'gunman' dropped his weapon when police stormed the studio

A man who forced his way into a studio of Dutch news broadcaster NOS with a fake gun has no known links to terrorist organisations, police say.

The 19-year-old was arrested after reportedly warning of bomb and cyber attacks and demanding air time.

A police statement said he later admitted making the threats up, and claimed he was acting alone.

The man's motive was unclear. It comes at a time of heightened security in Europe following attacks in Paris.

NOS's main evening bulletins were cancelled after the intruder broke in on Thursday.

Staff were evacuated from the building in the Media Park in the city of Hilversum.

The man, smartly dressed and carrying what appeared to be a long pistol, paced around a studio, and reportedly wanted 10 minutes' airtime.

Footage broadcast by NOS after the incident shows him saying: "The things that are going to be said [pause] - those are very large world affairs. We were hired by the security service."

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Staff were evacuated from the studios while armed police searched the buildings

Armed police stormed into the studio and overpowered him.

Footage shows the officers shouting: "Drop it! Drop it! Get on your knees!"

He is seen dropping the fake gun, saying: "I dropped it. It's dropped."

Police then put handcuffs on him and took him away.

Prosecutors later said that the man, aged 19 and from the town of Pijnacker near The Hague, was in police custody.

He was being held on suspicion of making a threat, weapons possession and taking a hostage, officials added.

'Hackers' collective'

Dutch media reported that he was believed to be a student at a technical university and had been living with his mother and stepfather.

A threatening letter the man allegedly gave to staff, warning of bomb and cyber attacks if he was prevented from going on air, has been published on the NOS website (in Dutch).

A reporter who spoke to him said he had claimed to be from a "hackers' collective", AP news agency says.

Controversial Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn was shot dead in Hilversum's Media Park in 2002 after giving a radio interview.

Security has been tightened across Europe in recent weeks after jihadist attacks on the offices of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, police officers, and a kosher supermarket in Paris left 17 people dead.

A series of anti-terror raids in Belgium also left two suspects dead this month.

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