Police have said they are working on the assumption that an explosion that damaged a Dutch coronavirus test centre early on Wednesday was a deliberate attack.
No one was hurt in the 6.55am blast, which blew out half a dozen windows of the drive-through test centre in Bovenkarspel, about 40 miles (60km) north of Amsterdam. Police have sealed off the area to investigate.
Dutch media reported that a crude pipe bomb exploded just outside the test centre. Bystanders spoke of “a very large bang”. The centre will be closed until later in the day while explosives experts examine the site.
“The explosives didn’t get there by accident, obviously,” a police spokesperson told the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper. “But we will only know what the motive was once we have identified and detained a suspect.”
It would not be the first attack on a Covid test centre in the Netherlands. Three people including a 16-year-old were arrested after an arson attack on a test centre in the fishing village of Urk during three days of rioting triggered by the introduction of a nationwide curfew in January.
That incident caused outrage the Netherlands, with the prime minister, Mark Rutte, and the health minister, Hugo de Jonge, among those condemning the fire. A week later, explosives were found at a test centre in Hilversum.
Windows have been smashed at test centres in Amsterdam, and last October a couple vandalised and daubed graffiti and slogans including “coronavirus is a hoax” on a test centre in the southern town of Breda.