The incident in Utrecht “seems to have the characteristics of a terrorist attack,” said Dutch counter-terrorism chief Peter-Jaap Aalberspark, the Netherlands’ NOS reported. “The perpetrator is still eluding capture,” he said on Twitter inviting citizens to follow the police instructions carefully.
The Dutch government has declared a state of terrorist threat at the highest level in the province of Utrecht and has strengthened security measures in schools, mosques and transport hubs.
The level of threat rose to Level 5 only in the province of Utrecht, the head of the anti-terrorism agency said. A spokesman for the Dutch police said it is likely that the perpetrator escaped by car while he did not exclude the possibility that more than one armed person could have participated in the attack.
“There was exchange of fire this morning in Utrecht,” said counter-terrorism chief Peter Jaap Olmsberg at a press conference in The Hague stating that “an important police operation is in progress to find the perpetrator.”
“Many are still unclear at this stage and local authorities are working hard to find out all the facts,” said Olbersberg. He refused to disclose the number of injured people and the condition of the victims.