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18 Mar, 2019 11:31

Shooting 'appears to be terrorist attack', Utrecht threat level now highest - counter-terror agency

Shooting 'appears to be terrorist attack', Utrecht threat level now highest - counter-terror agency

The Netherlands raised the terror threat in Utrecht province to highest following a tram shooting, which killed three and injured nine others. The Dutch counter-terror agency said it appears to be a terror attack.

The National Anti-Terrorism Coordinator (NATC) said it raised the terrorism threat level to 5 in all of Utrecht area, the highest for the emergencies of this kind. The alert will be in place until at least 18:00 local time.

The government authority said the decision was made after the shooting on a tram in Utrecht, where rescue efforts and a manhunt for possible perpetrators are still underway. The incident “currently has all the characteristics of a terrorist attack,” NATC said.

Also on rt.com Tram shooting in Dutch city of Utrecht kills 3, injures 9, attacker at large

Earlier in March, the agency warned that terrorism threat remains high all across the country. “Over the past year the threat situation in the Netherlands has been unsettled,” it warned, saying, “the chance of an attack in the Netherlands is still real.” 

Utrecht police said on Monday that they were considering the possibility of a “terrorist motive.” Heavily armed officers rushed to the area shortly after the shooting was reported on a tram at a busy traffic junction.

Military police have also boosted security at airports and key buildings.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called the situation “very worrying” and the country’s counterterror coordinator said in a tweet that a crisis response team met to address the situation.

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