Deadly Utrecht attack leads to heightened security for Dutch Jewish community


AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Security around Dutch Jewish community buildings was increased significantly as police searched for the gunman suspected of killing at least three people in what the prime minister said may have been a terrorist attack in Utrecht.

The incident, in which several people were wounded, happened Monday morning inside a tram in the central city near Amsterdam. Police released a picture of a 37-year-old Turkey-born man named Gokman Tanis whom they suspect of shooting multiple people before fleeing.

Using the handle “HateDemocrat,” Tanis has threatened violence in the past against PowNed, a right-wing news website.

The Federative Jewish Netherlands group wrote on Twitter that elite police troops are patrolling Jewish community buildings with semi-automatic weapons.

In Utrecht, the government for the first time ever raised the terrorism threat level to 5, its highest state.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said it “may be a terrorist attack and an an attack on our democracy.”

Mosques in Utrecht were temporarily shuttered, De Telegraaf reported.

Utrecht’s Chabad House also was not operating on Monday, but only because there were no activities scheduled for the day, a spokesman told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. But Chabad Utrecht said Purim celebrations are to take place later this week as scheduled.

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