At least one dead in multiple shooting in Dutch city of Utrecht

Emergency services stand at the 24 Oktoberplace in Utrecht, on March 18, 2019 where a shooting took place. (AFP)

DUBAI: At least one person is dead and multiple others injured in a shooting incident in Utrecht, The Netherlands, according to Dtuch news agency ANP.

Police are not ruling out terrorism as a possible motive in the shooting that left several people “heavily injured” – the shooter remains at large. Police have advised schools in the area to keep their doors closed.

Police have erected a white tent over an area where a body appears to be lying next to a tram following reports of a shooting in the Dutch city of Utrecht, AP reported.

The Dutch anti-terror coordinator has raised the threat alert to its highest level around the central Dutch town of Utrecht following the shooting incident on a tram in the city, with the shooter still on the run.

Anti-terror coordinator Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg said in a statement that the “threat level has gone to 5, exclusively for the Utrecht province,” referring to the highest level.

“The culprit is still on the run. A terror motive cannot be excluded,” he said in a Twitter message. He called on citizens to closely follow the indications of the local police.

Dutch police say they are looking for a least one person who might have fled by car. Counter-terrorism forces have surrounded a building where the gunman may be located, local broadcaster NOS News reported.

Spokesman Bernhard Jens did not exclude more people might be involved.

“We want to try to catch the person responsible as soon as possible,” Jens said.

The Utrecht local government has set up a hotline to address queries about the situation. The Netherlands has one of the strictest gun laws and ownership is limited to law enforcement, hunters and target shooters.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that the government is currently holding crisis talks.

Aalbersberg earlier said on Twitter that he was having “crisis consultations”, adding: “Terrorist motive not excluded. Information not yet full.”

Local media reports have said counter-terrorism police were seen at the scene.

“Shooting incident… Several injured people reported. Assistance started,” the Utrecht police Twitter account said. “It is a shooting incident in a tram. Several trauma helicopters have been deployed to provide help.”

Dutch paramilitary police have increased security at airports and other vital public infrastructure.

The 24 Oktoberplein is a busy Utrecht traffic junction, with a tram stop. Tram traffic was temporarily stopped due to the incident, but the trams are currently running again between Zuilenstein, Nieuwegein and IJsselstein.

(With AFP and Reuters)

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About Cholo Brooks 14438 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.