–Suspect arrested as security was beefed up at mosques and airports in Netherlands and Germany
UTRECH: Three people were killed and several others were injured in a shooting on a tram in the Dutch city of Utrech on Monday.
Turkish state-run Anadolu agency, while citing his relatives, said the suspect shot a relative and those trying to help due to “family matters”.
The suspect, identified as 37-year-old Gokmen Tanis, was arrested.
“We have just been informed that the suspect has been arrested,” Utrecht police chief Rob van Bree told a news conference.
Police in Utrecht said they were reducing the number of people who were injured to five. Earlier, police said nine people had been wounded in the shooting. The death toll of three in the shooting has not changed.
Armed counter-terrorism police earlier launched a huge manhunt for the attacker, urging local residents in one of the Netherlands’ biggest cities to stay indoors in case of further incidents.
Later, the mayor withdrew advice issued earlier by his municipality for the city’s residents to stay indoors in the aftermath of a deadly shooting on a tram.
In a video tweeted by the Utrecht municipality, the mayor said that the earlier advice to remain indoors was based on fears that shots had been fired at more than one location in the city.
He now said “that is not the case, as far as we know”.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the incident, just days ahead of local elections, was “deeply disturbing” and police stepped up security at mosques and airports.
He said people may have died in a shooting in the city of Utrecht being treated as a possible terror attack, adding that the Netherlands would “never give way to intolerance”.
Rutte told a brief press conference in The Hague with the country’s justice minister that there were “several wounded and possible deaths” in the incident.
A body covered in a sheet could be seen on the tracks in Utrecht as armed police and emergency services swarmed around the scene, while helicopters hovered overhead.
“We cannot exclude a terrorist motive,” the head of the Dutch national counter-terrorism service, Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, told a brief news conference before rushing off for a crisis meeting.
Aalbersberg said there had been shooting at “several locations” but did not give further details.
“A major police operation is under way to arrest the gunman,” he added.
The terror alert level in Utrecht was raised to maximum level five, he added.
The Dutch military police said they were on “high alert” and were boosting security at the airports and at other vital buildings in The Netherlands.
Mosques in Utrecht had shut for the day following the attack, the ANP news agency said, which comes just days after 50 people were killed at mosques in New Zealand in a rampage by a white supremacist.
All major political parties including Rutte’s VVD announced that they were suspending campaigning ahead of Wednesday’s local elections which will determine the make-up of the Dutch senate.
Police in the port city of Rotterdam said they had increased security outside mosques.
German police say they have upped surveillance on the country’s border with the Netherlands and are on the lookout for the gunman behind a shooting in the Dutch city of Utrecht.