At least one person has died and a number of people injured in a shooting ‘with possible terrorist motive’ in the central Dutch city of Utrecht on Monday morning, local news reports.
One or several gunmen opened fire on a tram in the city centre at around 10.45 local time on Monday morning, before fleeing the scene, witnesses say.
Police say one or multiple assailants are still at large, and have since instructed all schools, as well as mosques and transportation hubs, in the city to keep their doors closed.
Shortly after 12.30 local time, the Dutch government raised the terrorism threat level to the highest possible in the province of Utrecht.
Utrecht University has put the entire campus on lockdown, and according to Dutch news agency NOS News all train traffic to Utrecht Central has stopped.
The Dutch 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 military police have been ordered to be on ‘extra alert’ at Dutch airports and ‘vital buildings’ due to the ongoing police manhunt.
The first casualty was reported by the Dutch ANP news agency, which stated that the victim was completely covered with a sheet and lying on the tracks between two carriages. There was no immediate official confirmation.
Police have so far spoken of one gunman but did not rule out the possibility there might be others, the ANP news agency quoted police as saying.
The Utrecht police said a square at a tram station outside the city centre had been cordoned off as emergency services attend the scene.
Officials added that trauma helicopters were sent to the incident at 24 Oktoberplein, and they are appealing to the public to stay away to allow first responders to do their work.
They had no further details about the incident and could not say how badly hurt the victims were.
‘Several shots were fired in a tram and several people were injured. Helicopters are at the scene and no arrests have been made,’ said police spokesman Joost Lanshage.
Dutch media quoted an eyewitness as saying he had seen a woman lying on the ground amid some kind of confrontation. Several men ran away from the scene, the witness said.
Local resident Jimmy De Koster witnessed the incident and told De Telegraaf: ‘I was standing at the traffic lights on 24 Oktoberplein and I saw a woman lying down, I think she would have been between 20 and 35 years old.
‘She shouted ‘I didn’t do anything’.’
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called the situation ‘very worrying’ and the country’s counterterror coordinator said in a tweet that a crisis team was meeting to discuss the situation.
Utrecht is located about 25 miles south of Amsterdam in central Holland.