The Utrecht gunman opened fire in a tram for «family reasons», reports say

Three people were killed and nine others injured in an attack that targeted a tram’s passengers in Utrecht, Netherlands. Police have arrested the gunman who has, reportedly, acted after a family dispute.

Utrecht tram station attack, Netherlands./Ph. DR
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Dutch police have arrested a man, who was suspected of opening fire on the passengers of an Utrecht tram, Monday, reports the Guardian. The arrest of the man, identified as a 37-year-old Turkish-born, was announced by Rob van Bree, the head of operations of the Central Netherlands Police.

After Dutch prosecutor’s spokesperson said that investigators are «taking into account the possibility of a terrorist motive», police said that they are considering that the shooting «might have been personal». Quoting the Turkish news agency Anadolu, New York Times reported that the family of the suspect said the shooting occurred because of a «family dispute».

The same version of the story was confirmed by people who knew the suspect in the Netherlands. According to the same source, only one person was targeted in the shooting, which took the lives of three people and injured five others in a tram in Utrecht, a city in central Holland.

The death toll was confirmed by Utrecht’s mayor Jan Van Zanen, according to Dutch broadcaster NOS, which indicated that three of the people wounded are in serious condition.

A few hours after he opened fire on passengers at a tram, Dutch police managed to identify the suspect. According to CNN, the assailant is a 37-year-old Turkish-born man named Gökmen Tanis.

Authorities in the Netherlands have urged people to stay away from the area and advised schools to keep their doors closed.

A possible terrorist motive

Following the deadly shooting, police said that they are exploring a «possible terrorist motive», which took place at around 10:45 am.

An anti-terrorism unit and emergency services were sent to the tram station, where the attack took place, in addition to three helicopters. The injured were rushed to the hospital, reports indicated.

Commenting on the attack, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that police are currently «hunting» the identified suspect.

«We are doing our utmost to try and find the perpetrator or perpetrators in the Utrecht shooting», Rutte said on Monday.

Meanwhile, the politician said that shooting is an «attack on [our] society, and an attack on [our] tolerant and open society».

«If indeed this is an act of terror, then of course there is only one response possible. And that response is as follows: That our state our democracy, we are stronger than fanatics and violence. We will not stop fighting intolerance ever», he pointed out.

Following the attack, authorities in Rotterdam secured mosques and stations in the city, said CNN, quoting a tweet by the city’s police.

Contacted by Yabiladi, the Moroccan embassy in the Hague said that, for the moment, the nationalities of the ones affected by the attack have not been revealed yet.

Morocco's embassy in the Hague sets up a crisis sell to answer the calls of Moroccans living in the Netherlands

The Moroccan embassy in the Hague has set up a crisis cell to closely monitor the situation with the Dutch authorities and the four Moroccan consulates in the Netherlands, to see if there are Moroccans among the victims of the Utrecht tram attack.

A Moroccan diplomatic source told MAP news agency that the crisis cell will answer questions by Moroccans living in the Netherlands. It can be contacted at the following number: 0031610149146.

Three people were killed and nine wounded in the shooting, according to the city's mayor who did not specify the nationalities of the victims.

Article modified on : 2019/03/19 00h54

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