Tram shooting in Dutch city of Utrecht kills 3, injures 9, attacker at large

Three people have been killed and nine others injured in a terrorist attack that took place in the Dutch city of Utrecht. A nationwide manhunt for a 37-year-old Turkish suspect is now underway, police said.

The Dutch counter-terrorism unit has surrounded a building where the gunman may be located, local media has reported. The perpetrator manged to escape the scene of the crime earlier, despite police cordoning off the area and adjacent streets.

The shooting has left three people dead and nine injured, the city’s mayor has confirmed. 

Police said it’s looking at all plausible motives for the shooting, including terrorism.

The Dutch counter-terror agency said the shooting appears to be a terror attack. The Netherlands raised the terror threat in Utrecht province to highest. 

Police have released a photo of a bearded man sitting on public transport, dressed in a dark blue top, identifying him as Turkish-born Gokmen Tanis. He is being searched for as a suspect in the attack.

Medevac helicopters have been send in to airlift the wounded, Utrecht police said. 

U-OV, a local transport company, said tram services were suspended all around the city. As the situation developed, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte canceled the weekly coalition meeting and will consult with a crisis response team. 

He said all efforts were concentrated on catching the “suspect or suspects” in the shooting, but didn’t comment on whether it was a terrorist attack.

“Our country today has been jolted by an attack in Utrecht,” Rutte said. “Police and prosecutors are looking into what exactly happened. What’s known now is that there was shooting at people sitting in a tram in Utrecht, that there were wounded, and possibly deaths.”

It is still unclear if the shooter acted alone or had accomplices. “A man started shooting wildly,” an eyewitness told Dutch news outlet NU.nl. But the AD.nl website cited a witness who said there were four gunmen who opened fire at a woman near the tram station. 

24 Oktoberplein street, where the shooting took place, is an important traffic junction in Utrecht, the fourth largest city in the Netherlands.

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