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Dutch Tram Attack Suspect from March'19 Says He Struck to Defend His 'Faith'

Four people were killed — a woman aged 19 and three men aged 28, 49 and 74 — and several others were wounded in the attack on the tram in the city of Utrecht on March 18.

AFP

Updated:July 1, 2019, 11:31 PM IST
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Dutch Tram Attack Suspect from March'19 Says He Struck to Defend His 'Faith'
Representative image.

The Hague: A Turkish-born suspect carried out a deadly gun attack on a Dutch tram in March to defend his faith against those who want to "kill Muslims", prosecutors said on Monday.

Gokmen Tanis left a letter in his getaway car showing a "strong indication of terrorist aim", the Dutch prosecution service said as the 37-year-old appeared in court.

Four people were killed — a woman aged 19 and three men aged 28, 49 and 74 — and several others were wounded in the attack on the tram in the city of Utrecht on March 18.

The father of the 19-year-old victim shouted "Coward! You are a pig" at the suspect in court, local media said.

"I do this for my faith, you want to kill Muslims and you want to steal our faith from us, but you will not succeed. Allah is great," prosecutors quoted Tanis's letter as saying.

The existence of the letter was previously known but not its contents.

The circumstances of the attack in which the suspect fired gunshots at strangers in a public space reinforced the likelihood of a "terrorist" crime, prosecutors said.

Tanis, who was arrested after an eight-hour manhunt that paralysed the scenic Dutch city, has been charged with "multiple murders with terrorist aims." He will now be sent for psychiatric assessment, prosecutors said.

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