Officials in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam on Wednesday canceled a performance by the American rock group Allah-Las following a tip from Spanish police that a terror attack might be imminent.
Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said at a hastily arranged news conference that police were questioning the driver of a van loaded with gas tanks that was found near the concert venue. The vehicle was registered in Spain.
Concert organizer Rotown said on Twitter that the concert venue, a former grain silo and elevator called Maassilo, had been evacuated. The decision to cancel the event was made less than an hour before doors were to open to the public.
Dutch television images from Maassilo showed officers wearing body armor, escorting a group thought to be members of the band, whose name refers to the Islamic deity.
Aboutaleb said Spanish police reported the terror threat just hours before the California band was due to take the stage, and the tip was serious enough to warrant canceling the concert.
However, he added, no link had yet been established between the alleged attack plan uncovered by Spanish police and the van, which explosives experts were searching.
The Allah-Las group is from Los Angeles. The four musicians told the British newspaper The Guardian last year that they chose Allah, the Arabic name for God, for their group’s name because they wanted something “holy sounding” and did not realize it might cause offense.
“We get emails from Muslims, here in the U.S. and around the world, saying they’re offended, but that absolutely wasn’t our intention,” lead singer Miles Michaud told the newspaper. “We email back and explain why we chose the name, and mainly they understand.”
Details of the threat relayed to Rotterdam from Spain were not disclosed. Spanish police have been investigating deadly vehicle attacks that killed 15 people in and near Barcelona last week.
They have recovered bomb-making equipment that included more than 100 tanks of butane gas, nails and 500 liters of highly flammable acetone.