Dutch journalist targeted in Molotov cocktail attack at Groningen home

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A Dutch journalist has been targeted in a Molotov cocktail attack in the northern city of Groningen.

Police said that “burning material” had been thrown through the window of the home of Willem Groeneveld, who writes for the Groningen blog “Sikkom”.

Groeneveld and his partner were woken by breaking glass on Wednesday night and managed to extinguish the flames and throw the material outside.

Police officers later found flammable material in front of their upstairs flat in the Tuinwijk neighbourhood of the city.

The suspected attack comes just over a month after Dutch investigative reporter Peter De Vries was fatally injured in a shooting in Amsterdam.

The attack sparked a wave of emotion in the Netherlands and calls for more protection for journalists.

“The police are conducting an extensive investigation into an incident where burning material was thrown into and towards a journalist’s home,” a statement read.

“Fortunately no one was injured, but the journalist and his partner were very shocked.”

“The cause is not yet known, but the police are taking the matter very seriously. Regardless of the motive, it is clear that journalists must be able to do their work freely.”

The authorities have launched an investigation into the Groningen incident and are appealing for witnesses.

According to Dutch public television, Groeneveld has previously been intimidated, and stones were thrown through the windows of his home two years ago.

In an interview with a journalism website last week, the journalist said he was “looking over his shoulder more often when walking around the city”.

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“After the attempted murder of Peter R. de Vries, this is the second attack on a Dutch journalist in a short period of time,” said Thomas Bruning, secretary-general of the Dutch Journalists Association.

“Unbelievable, this could have ended so horribly,” Bruning added on Twitter.

Dutch police said that they take “severe action” when journalists are attacked and said the investigation will be given “high priority”.

“The penalty for aggression and violence against journalists will be doubled by the Public Prosecution Service,” the statement added.

“Journalists have to be able to do their work in all freedom.”

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