Manhunt launched after shooting on Dutch tram wounds many

Manhunt launched after shooting on Dutch tram wounds many

The Turkish intelligence agency said it is investigating whether the attack was personally motivated or an act of terrorism, President Tayyip Erdogan said. The alert will be in place until at least 18:00 local time.

Emergency services flooded the area around a busy traffic intersection in the west of the city where the shooting took place. The incident "currently has all the characteristics of a terrorist attack", NATC said. Security was stepped up at mosques.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he was "deeply concerned" about the incident.

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Heinrich Onstein, a spokesman for the federal police in the border state of North Rhine-Westphalia, told the Associated Press that additional police have been added to surveil major highways, minor crossings and railway routes. The police have cordoned off the area and tram transport has been immobilised.

"In Utrecht there was a shooting at several locations", Netherlands Counter-Terrorism Agency head Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg told a news conference. Utrecht City Council warned residents to stay indoors.

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Meanwhile, the threat level has been temporarily raised to its highest point in the province of Utrecht and extended until 9pm.

Police spokesman Bernhard Jens said one person might have fled by auto and he did not rule out the possibility that more than one assailant was involved.

Dutch broadcaster NOS said police had surrounded a building where the suspected gunman was believed to be holed up. The Utrecht police have now released a photo of the suspected gunman who opened fire targeting people in a tram. "Several trauma helicopters have been deployed to provide help", the police added.

The Municipality of Utrecht issued a statement as a first reaction to the event, where the shooting is descrived as "a frightful and radical incident in which victims have fallen".

The mayor of Utrecht, Jan van Zanen, said three people had been killed and nine injured, three of them seriously, in the tram incident.

Utrecht is commonly known as being a university town, popular with global students and a small population of approximately 350,000 people.

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