THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) – A bombing before dawn Monday blew the front door off a Muslim elementary school in a southern town and extensively damaged the building in what police suspect was a revenge attack for the killing of a Dutch filmmaker last week.

No one was injured in the attack on the empty school, which came days after the arrest of a Muslim radical accused of killing filmmaker Theo van Gogh. Van Gogh, a distant relative of Vincent Van Gogh, released a film titled “Submission” in August that was critical of how women are treated under Islam.

The Tarieq Ibnu Zyad Islamic elementary school in Eindhoven, about 75 miles south of Amsterdam, is run by the al-Fourqaan Islamic Center, which oversees the town’s al-Fourqaan mosque.

Dutch intelligence officials have had the center under observation since reports it hosted an Islamic seminar in 1999, said to have been attended by Mohamed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi, two of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers, and Ramzi Binalshibh, the suspected liaison between al-Qaida and three of the hijackers who were based in Hamburg, Germany.

Van Gogh’s killing Tuesday shocked the Netherlands and sparked several other anti-Muslim attacks including two weekend attempts to burn down mosques.

It was not immediately clear who carried out Monday’s attack or what type of explosives were used, police spokesman Henrie van Pinxterens said. The powerful blast did substantial damage to the building and scattered debris across the neighborhood.

Spokesman Cees Dekkers said police suspect the bombing was a retaliation for Van Gogh’s murder.

“Eindhoven is shocked, very shocked, by a cowardly deed in the middle of the night when normal citizens are sleeping,” Mayor Alexander Sakkers told reporters.

Sakkers said police would introduce round-the-clock surveilance of Islamic sites in the town of about 200,000.

which has five main mosques.

Interior Ministry spokesman Frank Wassenaar said the government had spoken to authorities about whether more security was needed following Van Gogh’s slaying, but said “there is no indication that local police cannot deal with this themselves.”

The mayor met with parents of the school’s students later on Monday.

“It is essential that we stick together,” he said. “One single person who pulls off such an idiot act” should not affect Dutch society.

Van Gogh, an outspoken satirist and columnist, was shot Tuesday while riding his bicycle and then stabbed. His throat was cut and a five-page letter quoting from the Quran and threatening attacks on Dutch politicians was left on his body.

He will be cremated Tuesday in a public ceremony in Amsterdam.

Ten suspected Islamic extremists were arrested in the murder but four of them have been released.

Among those arrested was Mohammed Bouyeri, 26, the alleged killer who is suspected of links to a terrorist group, police said.

Mainstream Muslim groups condemned the killing but nevertheless have been the target of anger in the Netherlands.

Dutch Interior Minister Johan Remkes has said the killing should not be blamed on the Muslim community.

Vandals threw red paint Saturday night on a social center that helps Muslim immigrants in Amsterdam.

In the town of Huizen, police arrested two men they said were caught preparing to ignite a fire at the An-Nasr mosque Friday night, national news service NOS reported. A mosque in Breda sustained minor fire damage in another reported arson attempt.

Earlier this week, a small fire was set at a mosque in Utrecht, and a pig’s head was left in a plastic bag outside a mosque in Amsterdam.

AP-ES-11-08-04 1032EST



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