The police arrested two North African men Wednesday after a daylong siege that began when three officers were injured by a hand grenade during a predawn raid on an apartment suspected of harboring Islamic terrorists.
The arrests, coming after days of escalating tensions over the killing of an outspoken Dutch filmmaker by a Muslim militant, added to fears that a terrorist network with international ties is operating in the country.
More evidence of an international dimension emerged Wednesday when intelligence officials confirmed reports that they were seeking a Syrian man who may be a common link among three ongoing investigations, the first into the slaying last week of the filmmaker, Theo van Gogh; the second about a foiled plot to attack government installations; and the third involving threats to behead a Dutch member of parliament.
According to the Dutch news agency ANP, the Syrian national was arrested in the Netherlands last month on suspicion of recruiting volunteers to carry out extremist acts, but was later deported.
Spain's interior ministry, meanwhile, said it was investigating a possible link between the man arrested for van Gogh's murder, Mohamed Bouyeri, and a Moroccan national detained in Spain, Abdeladim Akouad, Agence-France Presse reported.
Spain arrested Akouad, also known as Naoufel, at Morocco's request on Oct. 14 last year, according to a Spanish Interior Ministry report. The report said Morocco had asserted that Akouad helped plan the suicide bombings in Casablanca that killed 45 people on May 16, 2003.
Dutch intelligence officials have said Akouad was in contact with a Dutch-Moroccan man, Samir Azzouz, who was also arrested in October 2003 after "coded communications" with Akouad suggested that a terrorist attack in the Netherlands was imminent.