November 20, 2015 / 11:25 AM / 2 years ago

Dutch mayor escorted from restaurant after alert, three questioned

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Rotterdam police escorted the city’s mayor from a restaurant and evacuated the building late on Thursday after a car identified as suspicious was seen parked outside, officials said.

Three men from Belgium who had been in the car were detained in a nearby park and were still being questioned on Friday, police told journalists, declining to say whether the arrests were linked to worries about militancy a week after bomb and gun attacks in France.

The car had already been stopped in the Netherlands earlier in the week, authorities said, without going into further details.

Rotterdam’s mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, a Sunni Muslim of Moroccan descent, was taken away as a precaution and nothing suspicious was found in the vehicle, apart from a small quantity of drugs, police said.

On of the attackers in France, Salah Abdeslam, was fined in the Netherlands in February for drug possession and is believed to have run a cafe in a Brussels neighborhood where drugs were sold.

Later on Friday, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the government would boost its 9.9-billion-euro ($10.5 billion) 2016 security budget by another 250 million euros to help prosecutors, police and forensic investigators.

($1 = 0.9391 euros)

Reporting By Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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