3 dead, 5 injured in possible terror shooting attack in The Netherlands
18 Mar 2019, 15:19 ( 1 Month ago) | updated: 18 Mar 2019, 19:18 ( 1 Month ago)
Three persons were killed and five others wounded Monday in a possible terror shooting attack in a tram in Utrecht, a city in the central Netherlands.
The manhunt for the suspect is still going on, with the Dutch city releasing the shooter's identity and picture.
Earlier on Monday, the police and the mayor of Utrecht Jan van Zanen had said the shooting resulted in three deaths and nine injuries. Later, the authorities revised down the casualties.
The police has announced the name of the alledged suspect in the attack. The perpetrator is named Gokmen Tanis, born in Turkey and 37 years old. The police also released a picture of him, and warned people not to approach him and call the police.
Local broadcaster RTV Utrecht reported that the suspect had a history of criminal acts, including shooting with a firearm, attempted homicide and other minor offenses.
The attack shocked the Netherlands on Monday. "A shooting occurred on the #24oktoberplein in #Utrecht. The incident has been reported at 10:45 hour. Multiple people have been injured. The surrounding area has been cordoned off and we are investigating the matter," the police of Utrecht said shortly before noon on Twitter, adding that "a possible terrorist motive is part of the investigation."
The mayor of Utrecht, the capital and largest city of the Utrecht province, said in a statement on the municipality government's website that "Shortly before noon a shooting took place on a tram in Utrecht around 24 Octobersquare. A horrible and radical incident in which victims have fallen."
"With my chief of police and public prosecutor I can confirm that the police and the public prosecutor are currently looking for the person or persons responsible for this incident," van Zanen added in the statement, "We do not exclude anything, not even a terrorist attack."
The Dutch National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security (NCTV) increased the threat level in the province of Utrecht from 4 to 5, the highest level, until at least 6 p.m. local time. The rest of the Netherlands remains on the current threat level 4.
A lot is unclear, said Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, head of the NCTV, at a press conference in The Hague. "One perpetrator is on the run. It is our priority to catch this perpetrator. This is a complicated operation. I do not exclude there are more perpetrators, but I cannot say that with certainty."
"Our country is shocked today by the attack in Utrecht," Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said during a press conference with Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Security and Justice in The Hague. "The police and the public prosecutor are investigating what exactly happened. A terrorist motive is not excluded."
"This is horrible," Rutte continued. "We do everything to catch the perpetrator or perpetrators as quickly as possible. If it is an act of terror, only one answer is appropriate. It is an attack on our civilization. Our rule of law and democracy are stronger than fanaticism and violence. We will not bow to intolerance."