Utrecht attack could be terrorism

Dutch investigators said that terrorism was “a serious possibility” in a shooting that killed three people on a tram a day earlier in Utrecht, citing a note found in the suspect’s vehicle that they said gave new guidance about the potential motive for the attack.

Background

Utrecht is the fourth-largest city and a municipality of the Netherlands, capital and most populous city of the province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation, and in the very centre of mainland Netherlands, and had a population of 345,080 in 2017.

In March 2019, three people were killed and five were injured when a gunman opened fire at a moving tram in the city.

Analysis

In the chaotic hours following the attack in Utrecht, investigators struggled to piece together a motive. By the end of Monday, Dutch news outlets were flooded with accounts — incorrect ones, prosecutors suggested that said the 37-year-old Turkish-born suspect had targeted a woman on the tram over a family dispute.

“The investigation has so far shown no relationship between the main suspect and the victims,” Dutch prosecutors said Tuesday in a statement. “So far, a terrorist motivation is being taken as a serious possibility. There is cause for this because of, among other things, a letter found in the getaway car.”

They offered no details about the contents of the letter and said they were not excluding other possible motives.

Assessment

Our assessment is that the act of violence perpetrated in the city should be considered an act of terrorism, irrespective of the original motives of the attacker. We believe that the court will award the accused the judgement based on legal precedents derived from previous cases of terrorism in the country.           

Image Courtesy: De Telegraaf (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2019_Utrecht_shooting.jpg), https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode