A mosque near to NATO’s Brunssum command complex in The Netherlands has raised concerns with military top brass, De Telegraaf reports.
The centre, which is where the Allied Joint Forces Command Headquarters is based, also serves as the NATO higher headquarters for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
Officials were alerted to a potential threat in September after an officer stationed at the base said he was anxious about the safety of his family, following reports of a jihadist surveillance operation taking place in the area of the base and around the living quarters.
According to reports, much of the threat seems to centre on a local mosque, which is located 100 yards from the base and is said to be radicalising local Muslims.
The potential threat has been confirmed to the local media and the Dutch Parliament where questions were asked of the defence minister.
Mayor Luc Winants confirmed the threat, saying he had been informed about it by police in a briefing. “We will look at the threat here very seriously, together with the people of the base and the investigative services.”
The Ministry of Security and Justice says the action is one of the measures already taken in September when the Netherlands was participating in the coalition against terror movement Islamic State (IS). According to a spokesperson, there is no concrete evidence of an additional threat but measures are being put in place as a precaution and soldiers are being advised to wear their civilian clothes when in public.
The news follows attacks in Australia, Pakistan, Canada and the USA where the victims range from soldiers to school children: in their victims the terrorists have no qualms about gender, age or occupation.
UKIP defence spokesman, Mike Hookem MEP said he has ‘grave concerns’ about the safety of British troops and their families based at Brunssum.
“While it is relatively simple to tighten security around the base itself, it is very difficult to secure the many housing estates, schools, places of worship and other facilities that are used by military personnel and their families.”
There have been reports that following the alerts, staff from the base and members of community groups have been operating a security and surveillance operation including having watch posts and regular driving patrols.
Mr Hookem said that he wanted “assurances from both the Dutch authorities and NATO that steps are being taken to guarantee the security of both the military personnel and their families, even if it means shutting the mosque that is said to be at the centre of these threats. While military personnel understand the risks they take when they put on the uniform, at no time should the families of armed forces personnel feel under threat, especially when based in mainland Europe.”