Special Police forces inspect a tram at the 24 Oktoberplace in Utrecht, on March 18, 2019 where a shooting took place. (Photo: VCG)
Brussels (People’s Daily) - Three people are dead and nine wounded after a gunman opened fire in a tram in the central Dutch city of Utrecht, said Mayor Jan von Zanen on Monday.
According to Dutch public broadcaster NOS, the tram shooting happened at about 10:45 am local time. "A man started shooting wildly," one eyewitness told Dutch news site NU.nl.
Security at schools, transport hubs and mosques was tightened. "The shooting in Utrecht has all the characteristics of a terrorist attack,” the Dutch counter-terrorism agency said on its website. Three trauma helicopters were deployed.
The terrorism threat level was raised to 5, the highest level, exclusively for the province of Utrecht until 6 pm local time, the Dutch counter-terrorism agency said, adding that the perpetrator of the attack is "on the run.”
Utrecht police issued a photo of a 37-year-old man born in Turkey, Gokman Tanis, "in connection with the incident.” Police warned, "Do not approach him yourself, but immediately call" authorities. Dutch anti-terrorism co-ordinator Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg said all efforts were now focused on catching the gunman.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he was "deeply concerned" and that an emergency response meeting was convened."Our country today has been jolted by an attack in Utrecht," Rutte said in a statement.