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Dutch tram gunman to be charged with 'terrorist' killings

Police released picture of 37-year-old Gökman Tanis in connection with the Utrecht shooting. (Image Courtesy: Utrecht Police official Twitter handle)  Photograph:( Twitter )

AFP The Hague, Netherlands Mar 21, 2019, 04.27 PM (IST)

Dutch prosecutors are to charge the suspect in a gun attack in a packed Utrecht tram with "terrorist" killings, saying he will appear for the first time before a judge on Friday.

"The 37-year-old suspect will appear before a judge on Friday, charged with multiple murders with terrorist aims, as well as attempted murder and a terrorist threat," the public prosecution service said in a statement on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, authorities said they had found a suspicious letter in a getaway car used by Turkish-born main suspect Gokmen Tanis, 37, which made them "seriously" consider terrorism might have been involved in Monday's rampage in which three people were killed and seven injured.

Armed counter-terrorism officers meanwhile arrested one new suspect, aged 40, in Utrecht who was "suspected of being involved in the shooting incident", prosecutors said, adding that his "role was being further investigated." 

Two other men who were arrested Monday in connection with the shooting had been released, prosecutors added.

Meanwhile, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte laid flowers for the victims at the scene of the attack and said he was "still filled with horror" by the bloodshed.

Story highlights

Dutch prosecutors are to charge the suspect in a gun attack in a packed Utrecht tram with "terrorist" killings, saying he will appear for the first time before a judge on Friday.