Prosecutors probe terrorist motive in Utrecht ‘shooting’

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Brussels reopens street after ‘threat’

AMSTERDAM, March 19, (Agencies): Dutch prosecutors on Tuesday said they were investigating a possible terrorist motive behind the shooting on a tram in the city of Utrecht in which three people were killed and five wounded. A Turkish-born man, 37-yearold Gokmen Tanis, was arrested after a seven-hour manhunt on Monday by security forces and remained in custody.

Prosecutors said he is suspected of three fatal shootings, possibly with terrorist intent. Two other suspects were also in custody, police said, but their role was unclear. “Up to this point, a terrorist motive is seriously being considered , ” prosecutors said in a statement, citing “the nature of the shooting and a letter found in the getaway car.” But it remained unclear whether Tanis was acting on political beliefs or a personal vendetta. “Other motives are not being ruled out,” the statement said. Tanis has a history of run-ins with law enforcement.

He was convicted for illegal weapons possession in 2014 and for shop lifting and burglary earlier this month. He was released from custody on March 1, after having been detained on suspicion of rape, the Utrecht District Court said in a statement released after his arrest on Monday. He is due to appear in court in July in relation to the rape charge, it said. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte convened crisis talks immediately after the incident, which came three days after a lone gunman killed 50 people in mass shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand.

Brussels area reopened: Police in Brussels have reopened a street close to the European Union headquarters after a bomb threat was sent to a company linked to the EU. Police spokeswoman Ilse Van de Keere said a “telephone bomb threat” temporarily forced the evacuation of some 40 people from a building close to the EU Commission on Tuesday. Police sealed off the street and had it checked for explosives, but reopened it after a thorough check with sniffer dogs. Officials said the company was a consulting office linked to the EU’s executive Commission but did not name it.

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