A 19-year-old Dutchman with a pistol has been arrested after forcing his way into the studios of national broadcaster NOS on Thursday, demanding to be allowed to go on air.Dutch Gunman Hijacks Studio of Dutch Broadcaster NOS Demanding Airtime, Threatens Bomb/Cyber Attacks if Prevented
Wearing a black suit and tie, the man entered the studio after threatening a guard with a pistol and holding him hostage, saying bombs in different places of the Netherlands would explode if he didn’t get time on TV.
During the disruption to the NOS news program, the channel broadcast a message reading: “In connection with circumstances, no broadcast is available at this time.”
According to NOS director Jan de Jong, the gunman had a list of demands and wanted 10 minutes airtime. He had wanted to go to the main evening news studio but instead a guard took him to the studio where daytime bulletins are broadcast.
The NOS studios were evacuated for several hours as police searched the building.
When the channel came on air again, it broadcast video of the gunman wandering about the studio.
Video Translation via Sven Slootweg:
S = Security guard (the ‘hostage’, presumably)
P = Police officer(s)
The actual incident lasted around 10 minutes.
A threatening letter the gunman gave to staff, warning of bomb and cyber attacks if he was prevented from going on air, has also been released. “Realize that I am not on my own,” it says. In it he claims 98 hackers are poised to launch a cyber attack and that eight bombs containing radioactive material have been placed around the country. “If you don’t take me to studio 8 to make my broadcast, we will be forced to step into action.”
Letter Translation via Sven Slootweg:
When you read this, do not panic. Do not shout and don’t warn colleagues. Act like nothing is wrong. I am heavily armed. If you cooperate nicely, nothing will happen to you. Realize that I am not on my own. There are five others, plus 98 hackers who are ready for a cyber attack. Additionally, in the country eight heavy explosives have been placed that contain radioactive material. If you do not bring me to studio 8 to take over a broadcast, we will have to take action. You don’t want that on your conscience, do you? So accompany me now to Studio 8, the NOS studio.
[Below part presumably meant to be read out on a live broadcast]
We have been taken hostage by heavily armed men in Studio 8, at the Media Park Hilversum. There are more of them in the rest of the country, and they have 98 hackers ready for a cyber attack. Eight heavy explosives have also been placed in the country, containing radioactive materials. They want to do a live broadcast to share their story. If this live broadcast is interrupted in any way, they will take action. On the outside, there will be people making sure that the live broadcast can be seen throughout all of the Netherlands. Their demands are therefore, including but not limited to, 1. The building will not be stormed. 2. The live broadcast will not be delayed, not interrupted for even a single second, and not edited whatsoever. 3. To be clear; no information bar and no subtitles are to be added to the live broadcast. If the demands are complied with, we will be released. I will repeat this once more.
A reporter who spoke to the man said he had claimed to be from a “hackers’ collective,” AP reported.
NOS television said the gunman appeared to be a student who had recently lost both parents. It also said he did not figure on security services’ lists of suspected Islamist militants.
The man lives in the central Dutch town of Pijnacker, near the university town Delft, officials said, declining to provide details.
The gunman has been named on social media as Tarik Zahzah, and according to unconfirmed reports is a student of chemistry at Delft University of Technology.
Several fellow students spoke about Zahzah to Dutch media. One described him as a “quiet intelligent boy.” Another said he had not been seen for around four weeks.