Dozens of people would have been killed in an unprecedented terrorist attack in the Netherlands if a seven-strong terrorist cell had not been stopped in time, a Dutch public prosecutor told a court on Thursday.

The terrorists were intercepted in September last year following months of investigation. The seven suspects were arrested in the towns of Arnhem and Weert. Police seized 100kg of fertilizer as well as other bomb-making materials at their homes, they said at the time. This week, preliminary hearings in the high-profile case started.

“The suspects said goodbye to friends. These suspects were on the way to commit an attack, with dozens of victims. The Netherlands escaped a major attack,” the prosecutor told a court on Thursday.

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