Police in the Netherlands are engaged in a massive manhunt for a “37-year-old Turkish man” who killed three and wounded nine more in a suspected terror attack on a tram in the Dutch city of Utrecht Monday morning.
The BBC reports that the gunman opened fire inside a train in Utrech around 10:45am local time, hitting around a dozen people before jumping from the tram and taking off. Reuters claims witnesses told authorities that the gunman targeted one woman specifically, and then shot anyone who tried to help her.
“Our country today has been jolted by an attack in Utrecht,” the Netherlands’ prime minister, Mark Rutte, said in a statement to media. “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.”
“There is a mix of disbelief and disgust,” He added. “If it is terror attack then we have only one answer: our nation, democracy must be stronger that fanaticism and violence.”
“Dutch authorities raised the terrorism threat to its highest level in Utrecht province, schools were told to shut their doors and paramilitary police increased security at airports and other vital infrastructure and also at mosques,” Reuters reports. PM Rutte has also pulled most of his cabinet ministers into “crisis talks.”
Counter-terrorism authorities told the BBC initially that they believe the attack is terror-related, but that anti-terrorism forces are less concerned with motive than they are with capturing the killer, who is still on the loose.
“The police asks you to watch out for 37-year-old [shooter] (born in Turkey) in connection with this morning’s incident,” according to a statement issued this morning by Dutch police. “They issued an image of the man and warned the public not to approach him. They gave no further details,” Reuters said.
The image shows “a bearded man sitting on public transport and dressed in a dark blue top with a hood tucked in his neck.”
The police are also considering the remote possibility that the shooter was working with an accomplice. “We cannot exclude, even stronger, we assume a terror motive. Likely there is one attacker, but there could be more,” Jan van Zanen, the mayor of Utrecht, told reporters, according to Bloomberg world news.
German police also told Bloomberg that they are sealing the border between the Netherlands and Germany in case the suspect decides to flee the country.
“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,” both Bloomberg and the Associated Press reported. “Heinrich Onstein, a spokesman for the federal police in the border state of North Rhine-Westphalia, told The Associated Press on Monday that additional police had been added to watch not only major highways, but also minor crossings as well as railway routes.”
The Netherlands is no stranger to international terrorism, but if Monday morning’s attack turns out to be terror-related, as authorities suspect, it will be the largest and most deadly terror attack in the country in some time. The country has been hit by several attacks from radical separatists and at least one attack from the IRA.
In 2004, Dutch documentary filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered by a member of a terror cell, and just last August, two Americans were injured in a knife attack outside of an Amsterdam train station. The perpetrator of that attack was an Afghani national staying in the country on a German residency permit.
This story is developing and the Daily Wire will continue to update as necessary.