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3 people die in shooting on Dutch tram

Three people died in a brazen shooting on a tram in a bustling residential neighborhood in the Dutch city of Utrecht on Monday, an assault authorities said was likely terrorism.

“We cannot exclude, even stronger, we assume a terror motive,” Utrecht Mayor Jan van Zanen said. “Likely there is one attacker, but there could be more.”

Van Zanen also said nine people were wounded, three of them seriously.

Authorities launched a sweeping manhunt for the shooter and heavily armed police descended on the city of 350,000 in the central Netherlands known for its canals, Christian monuments and old-town charm.

Police released a photo of a 37-year-old Turkey-born man who they called a person “associated with the incident.” The photo showed a bearded man on the tram dressed in a dark blue hooded top.

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The terror alert level for the area was raised to the maximum level – a 5 – and security was reinforced at Dutch airports and key buildings across the country.

The Utrecht attack comes three days after 50 people were killed when a white nationalist opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, during Friday prayers. There was no immediate indication of any link between the two events.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the country was deeply shaken by the assault. “There is a mix of disbelief and disgust. If it is a terror attack then we have only one answer: Our nation, democracy must be stronger that fanaticism and violence.” 

Contributing: The Associated Press

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